You Annoy Me! (But I have to Lead you anyway)

I was spending the afternoon riding in the car with a good friend.  This long trip could have been more expedient with a short flight, but my host was a road warrior, and he loved the drive.  
As we cruised comfortably at 70, I realized he also had an another motive.  He was considering retirement and was now looking back on his very successful sales career.  Knowing of my work with successful leaders and business owners, he asked me a striking question.  “Steve”, he quietly said…”what do you think is missing?  I mean, I’ve had quite a great career.  I want nothing more financially, and I have more respect than I deserve.  But what do you think Steve?  Based on your experiences with business leaders, is there one more mountain I should climb?  Is there one more war to win?  Should I close one more rainmaker?”
We had an engaging discussion of what might have been, what could be, and while we laughed, and we thought deeply, we were very open and honest.  I laughed the hardest at his response to a simple question.  I asked him if why he had never considered a position in management.  Never at a loss for rapid answers, he raised his voice and said “Cause they annoy me”.   They annoy you, I probed?  Yes…Yes, those people who don’t do it right.  Those people who always have stupid questions, those people who are lazy, those people who have no drive to achieve, those people who, who…Yes I said.  I get it.  People who would work for you would annoy you?  “Actually I find them quite frustrating” he said.  “I would not be a good Leader.”
I thought this was fascinating.  Not that he was annoyed by other people, but the concept that perhaps all high flyers, or all high achievers are annoyed by others they perceive are not up to their level.  But some of these potentially annoyed high flyers  are Leaders.  And some of them are very successful leaders.
So I ventured out into the world of these high flying achievers who were also successful Leaders and asked 2 questions.
  1. Do you find some of the people you lead to be annoying?  (the universal answer was nearly 100% Yes)
  2. How do you overcome the distraction of this annoyance?  (the answers to question #2 were not so simple)
Ahhh – How to overcome the distraction of being annoyed by the people you lead?  That is the question of the day.
In no particular order, here’s what I heard.
  1. Because I have to…It’s my job. (ouch)
  2. I believe in developing others.
  3. I insulate myself from others when ever I can. (ooooh)
  4. I love being around my Team.  I look to their innocence and inexperience as a grounding for me.
  5. I have always felt the ability to be patient, and sensitive to others.
  6. Leaders must believe others have untapped potential.  It’s my responsibility to find it.
  7. If I respect and expect the best, they will learn and succeed…(and also stop annoying me)
  8. If I show them I believe in them, they will reciprocate and follow me.
  9. I listen without bias, using my eyes and feelings, and I reflect back to them what I heard them say.
  10. I remember when I was there when I was younger…(and I knew I annoyed my boss)
In the end, the real truth is, we do get annoyed by others, but if we are expected to Lead, we must overcome this distraction.  After all, showing others we have the ability to handle frustrations such as annoying people, while at the same time we juggle lots of balls, manage stress, and keep the big picture in view, is part of what makes us a Rare Leader™.
  1. Who annoys you at work?
  2. What do you do to overcome the distraction of annoying people?
  3. Where can you make a difference in someones life?
  4. When can you change your attitude about people who annoy you?
  5. How will you develop those who annoy you today?
      
If you want to learn more about the Rare Leader™ in you, 
or if you are interested in retaining Steve as your Executive Coach, 
Contact Steve Riege via: twitter, or his website.
5 Responses to You Annoy Me! (But I have to Lead you anyway)
  1. squaretwocoaching
    December 3, 2010 | 5:38 pm

    Great question and blog focus. I particularly like responses #7 and #8. As leaders, I would imagine (and have experienced) that there will be, from time to time people who annoy you, but it's more about their behavior that is annoying, and if leaders can isolate that from the person, then it may feel easier to find a solution.

  2. Steve Riege
    December 4, 2010 | 10:02 am

    Thanks Debbie, great comment and insights. Observable behavior is the key, rather than assumptions of what we think. Your idea helps to work towards a solution.

  3. Pepita
    December 30, 2010 | 1:18 pm

    The link to your Twitter doesn't work…

  4. Steve Riege
    December 31, 2010 | 9:48 am

    Thanks Pepita. Problem fixed. Appreciate your alert.

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