Skip to main content

Know when it is time to keep your mouth shut

from http://www.cincinnatichildrens.org/
As a youth, I don't remember ever having the right comeback when caught by surprise by a schoolmate making an antagonizing quip.  In high school, most of us were mising a lightning quick wit, and thus were subjected to indefensible attacks from those few who did.  A time did come however, when I did develop a quick wit, and the ability to stun an antagonist with lightning fast remark.  It is a well known fact that working in a steel mill can be compared to being in the 8th grade for life.  There is something about heavy industry that can bring the juvenile idiot out of each of us.




In this world of never ending immaturity and adolescent humor; quips and zingers zip about at times like speeding electrons.  It is always fun, until someone loses an eye.  The problem I have experienced is that observers in the periphery can at time take great offense to the ping-pong like banter that results from a pair of us dueling it out with sharp remarks, all meant in good fun.  While concentrating on returning fire, it is difficult to realize when you are offending someone else inadvertently.  When you offend coworkers in this way, they can often form poor impressions of you that will affect the ability to work together in the future. 

About six years ago, after a department meeting, a friend (coworker) of mine was having a conversation with our manager about a solution to a problem.  While listening to them, I was becoming more and more amused as their analysis of a situation that bordered on the inane.  The discussion was getting so silly that I looked at both of them and asked, " Did either of you actually attend engineering school?" A coworker of ours, who had a sensitivity about not being a college graduate took offense to the remark.  Our manager and my friend thought my comment was humorous, not necessarily amusing, while to our coworker it reinforced his perception of the arrogance of engineers in our workplace.  I wasn't necessarily trying to be arrogant, but the perception stuck, and it was another nail in the coffin that personified my relationship with that coworker.
I'm the horse's ass in the middle
In my current position, I have a comical relationship with a fellow supervisor.  Sometimes during informal morning meetings we find ourselves going back and forth in a stupid battle of wits that may amuse some on a superficial level but annoys others on deeper levels.  Most of the time I catch myself only after saying enough immature remarks that places yet another brick in the wall of poor perception.  Thank goodness, this only happens about every two weeks when the shift schedule has him working nights, leaving him particularly salty in the morning meetings.

The moral of the story is . . . .while you are having fun, making funny jokes, witty remarks, and being the center of attention, you aren't realizing that there are other people in the room that aren't enjoying the show.  While performing, it is impossible to pay attention to both of these far reaches of the spectrum.  When all energy is being used to be funny, less and less is usually spent on perceiving the minority negative reactions.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Business Culture Change Challenges: The Flat Earth Theory

The concept of a flat Earth dates back to the Bronze Age.  Early Greek philosophers including Pythagoras and later Aristotle were able to empirically develop the concept of a spherical Earth.  Ptolemy, hundreds of years later also used a spherical Earth model in the development of maps and the constructs of latitude and longitude.  How was it that such a developed science could be so easily dismissed in the dark ages?  For hundreds of years, the knowledge and understanding of a spherical earth was documented, yet for over 500 years you were labeled a heretic for even suggesting it.  The crews of Columbus’s initial New World Journey were terrified of the evils of over-speculated sea monsters and the inevitable fall off the edge of the world.  If you are encountering a culture shift in your workplace, then you have nothing to worry about compared what good ole’ Chris endured. Not only did Columbus need to get funding, he needed to recruit a crew of men to man the ships necessary

Richard Winters: Integrity In Leadership

Maj. Richard Winters      While I was watching HBO's " Band of Brothers " mini-series, for the twenty-something th time, I recognized something poignant. Maj. Richard Winters , who serves as the central connecting character, continually demonstrates exceptional middle management virtues.  His leadership is exemplary, not just in a military sense, but for any organizational setting.  He led by example and was always willing to go first, where he sent others.  He knew how to balance compassion with expectations. When it was necessary to be stern and authoritative, he was. When it was necessary to show empathy, he did.  He learned to delegate, even though it was never easy.  He gained the respect of his peers and his subordinates through his actions, not by intimidation or cruelty. Damien Lewis as Richard Winter s      Richard Winters knew he wasn't perfect. He didn't demand perfection, he demanded ultimate accountability. In contrast to Herbert Sobel's b

Movie Remakes. Where is the Imagination? Why was Papillon remade at all?

` It has been a while since I have posted, and for that I profusely apologize.  It's not that I haven't written, but I have ignored this blog too long. This particular post is a diversion from my normal managerial anecdotes, but I feel there is an important point regarding senseless remakes and reboots of films that were perfectly great to begin with. Please don't get me wrong; I think that advances in special effects and cinematography allow for a clearer representation of a director's vision.  However, I can think of only a few remakes that even come close to the original in quality, and perhaps "The Bounty" with Anthony Hopkins and a young Mel Gibson is one of them.  Unfortunately, remaking the 1973 "Papillon" that starred Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman is not one of them. Dustin Hoffman's Louis Dega McQueen as Charriere (Papillon) I remember watching the original with my brother over 40 years ago. Steve McQuee