Complaints Kids Make about Mom and We Make about Managers

The hardest part of having a mom is coming to grips with her frailties and mistakes.

Kid complaints about mom:

  1. You won’t let me do anything.
  2. You don’t love me.
  3. You’re mean.
  4. Nothing I do is ever good enough.
  5. You like Johnny more than me.

One of the hardest parts of having a boss is coming to grips with his/her mistakes and frailties.

Complaints about managers:

#1. Meddling.

Incompetence enjoys intervention, but competent employees resent meddling bosses. “Get out of my business.”

The toughest people to manage:

  1. Overconfident incompetence.
  2. Incompetence that resists intervention.

Your manager may have earned her position because she can do your job better than you. Now she has to learn to give you space to improve while being pressured to hit the numbers by higher ups.

#2. Expecting people to conform to company standards.

I just chatted with a manager who has employees that resist using new technology. He’s learning about being tough on standards and tender with people. (Thanks, Doug Conant, for that insight.)

He doesn’t want to be “mean.”

#3. Favoritism.

The perception of favoritism creates resentment and resistance.

The fear of favoritism prevents managers from properly honoring exceptional performance.

Mom might like everyone to win, but in the real world you probably aren’t the best at anything. (Unless you constantly find someone incompetent as a standard of comparison.)

Negative experience, positive impact:

Mom’s frailties and mistakes influence her children. Perhaps you grapple with the impact of an abusive mom. Maybe she yelled at you.

Learning to thrive in an imperfect world – without affirming it – is key to success.

  1. Learn what NOT to do.
  2. Assume a learner’s posture. How will “injustice” make you better?
  3. Bring your best when you’re misunderstood and under-appreciated.

How might we gain advantage from the mistakes and frailties of others?

Bonus material:

The Top Complaints from Employees about Their Leaders (HBR)

The Most Frustrating Things a Boss can Do (LinkedIn)

The Top 10 Complaints Employees have about their Managers (Forbes)