But They’re Never Satisfied

tape measure

People who want things just-so drive others crazy. Things seldom measure up.

Media Man:

There’s a media guy on our team who wants things done a certain way. He’s fanatical. On mornings when I’m giving presentations, I set my laptop on a small table, attach the cables, test the connection, and walk away. But that’s not good enough for “Media Man.”

When I return to the table, “Media Man” has adjusted the location of the cables. He’s always tweaking. It’s not bad when he tweaks my work. But, it’s awkward when he tweaks a teammate’s.

Just-So Man:

I held a team-formation meeting last week. The new team consists of easy going members, except one.

“Just-So Man” sat to my left. He’s tenacious about getting certain things right.

Frustrations between “Just-So Man” and easy going members will probably flare sooner or later. He’ll be frustrated about something and the rest of the team won’t.

Passionate people frustrate others.

Leader’s choice

How you deal with people like “Media Man” and “Just-So Man” determine organizational direction.

Not-good-enough creates tension. Others say, “For goodness sake! Can’t they let it go?” But…

Silence passion; embrace mediocrity.

  1. Respect and fuel passion even if it creates discomfort. The path to excellence is uncomfortable.
  2. Watch for tipping points when obsession becomes obstacle. Passionate people lose sight of the big picture. Step in, if necessary, and tell them to let it go.
  3. Shine lights on passionate people in public. Don’t hide tensions between those who are obsessed and those who aren’t. Honor passion and explore potential tensions.
  4. Ask teams to establish communication systems that mitigate tensions while fueling passions at the same time.

Passionate people take organizations further. But, they’re harder to manage. They don’t go along. And that’s just what you want, usually.

How can teams succeed when one member is fanatical in some area?

How can leaders fuel passions and avoid destructive disruption?