I delivered a workshop on Every Day Leadership and received the follow up question.
Dear Coach Brian:
I am so annoyed by my coworker always talking about himself. He changes every conversation to “I, I, I, I….I held a meeting and I fixed it. I gave them some advice and the problem went away. I had my secretary fix it, etcetera……” How do I tell him… there is no “I” in team?
It’s unbearably irritating like having a thorn in my foot. I have the notion to tell him how off, how wrong, how pompous he sounds and it’s getting him nowhere!
What is the best way to put Mr. Pompous in his place?
Recognize that your colleague doesn’t need corrected or disciplined. He needs to be understood. To avoid escalating problems we have to bring in a higher degree of finesse—use understanding, insight and awareness. Anything else will create tension, dissonance and make a temporary problem pervasive.
Operate at a level above what you see. Be the leader your coworker is not. End this unproductive and detracting problem right where it is. Avoid creating more discord.
Bring understanding to the situation. Recognize the human here. The immaturity, insecurity and the need to pump oneself up. Look at your coworker with compassion. Be kind. The weak are cruel. It takes strength to be kind. As you observe your coworker, model the right way. Be a model not a critic.
Develop insight into the human condition. See how people clamor to be heard, to be recognized; to be seen. People everywhere have unmet needs to impress, and a deep need for validation. See past the behavior and into the humanity within.
Develop awareness of what is actually going on at a deeper level and that will free you from reacting to everything like an amoeba that is poked.
Use your understanding, insight and awareness to see (and avoid) the tendency in our society, culture and in ourselves to quickly label, judge and accuse. The result is the person is forever pigeonholed, in a sense, condemned.
We are called to develop the skill and patience to pardon human ineptness at all levels.
Some people may never grasp that there is no “I” in team.
- The six most important words: “I admit I made a mistake.”
- The five most important words: “You did a good job.”
- The four most important words: “What is your opinion.”
- The three most important words: “If you please.”
- The two most important words: “Thank you,”
- The one most important word: “We”
- The least important word: “I”
Don’t let the behavior of others negatively influence your behavior. Don’t wish that people were better, help them become better, stronger, more courageous.
Remember, friction and fighting—a wrong situation wrongs everyone. Conflict reduces humanity on all sides.
Use yourself to elevate humanity to its rightful lofty position.