If no one goes to work to be difficult, why are they?
“Whatever the question is, love is the answer.”
I love this quote. It reminds me to move my focus from the superficial noise and angst, onto ‘what really matters here’. No one goes to work to be unhappy. No one goes to work to deliberately antagonise others, to be difficult – and yet that’s what we experience.
People are complex – and that simultaneously makes them brilliant and challenging. Increasingly employees (and customers) are becoming more demanding – for a number of reasons, and they have higher expectations. This is forcing managers and leaders to re-evaluate their own roles and their own behaviour. Management used to be primarily around the management of tasks – it just happened that a primary resource was often human. This stems from the industrial revolution when we were machine-centric, and the humans worked around the capability and physicality of the machines. My first degree was in Ergonomics (the man-machine interface), so I understand this.
“This is forcing managers and leaders to re-evaluate their own roles and their own behaviour.”
We’re moving beyond this now, at an exponential rate, and managers HAVE to manage people – not just as a resource but as individuals. For some managers this is normal – the way they’ve always worked. For many it’s a huge challenge, and it’s a challenge to their identity, to the way they generate respect and action. Skills training alone is not enough, so ticking the box on a management course just won’t create the changes required. That’s why I work with motivation first.
There a powerful story that Tony Robbins tells of a woman who pulls out her hair; pulls it out so her scalp bleeds and people avoid her. Tony explains that, however strange and illogical the behaviour, at some level it works for the person. Otherwise they wouldn’t continue to do it, and we have to address this first. (In this case – it was a deliberate strategy to avoid being hurt by others by making herself so undesirable.) At a simple level, that’s why we’ve all read books, been on training courses and applied little of what we’ve learned. The motivation, the deep desire for a different outcome, has to come first. As they say ‘Where there’s a will, there’s a way.’ And we’ve all heard stories of people who overcome all sorts of challenges – because it mattered to them.
“However strange and illogical the behaviour, at some level it works for the person, and we have to address this first.”
So today – as it’s Valentine’s Day, if you experience others who are being difficult, why not take a moment to wonder ‘why’? Love is a verb – and the most loving thing you can do today, might be to take a moment to understand what’s really going on for someone else. #motivatedperformance