Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Two kinds of people

A professor of English recently told me there were two kinds of people. Those who understood binary numbers and those that don't.

I guess he's right but I have a different view.

I was recently elected to lead the community arts council. As I surveyed the board of directors I find there are indeed two kinds of people; doers and talkers.

get things done! They show up when they can and work hard. They appreciate a pat on the back but they don't expect it. When they speak they have something important to say and they don't waste any time beating around the proverbial bush. You can count on them.

don't actually do much. They need to be the center of attention but don't play well with others. They stand by the side and watch others work and then complain because the work doesn't meet with their previously unspoken specifications. they know exactly how to do things but they never get around to actually doing them.

Talkers like to tell you all about how things used to be done. How things used to work and how they played a starring role in any success that may have happened. However, they'll also tell you how everything is broken and how they could have saved it if only they were in charge.

Talkers usually have passive-aggressive personalities. They'll talk a blue streak about you behind your back but are uncomfortable discussing issues face-to-face. They'll try to bully you or better yet get others to do it. They'll often threaten you with a major confrontation but fail to show up at "high noon."

How do you deal with these people?

Shower the doer with praise and respect. Seek them out and listen to their input. Get them to tools they need to do their jobs and then get out of the way. The management gurus call this empowerment. Let them know how important they truly are.

Hold the talkers accountable. Minimize their damage by not giving them undue attention. And don't back down when you know you're right. They'll fade away as soon as they see they can't be in the limelight.

Tonight is the first meeting of the board of directors that I will preside over. My talker already threated me with a verbal showdown. He also indirectly threatened to resign. He even claimed three other board members would quit with him.
Why? Because the board had volunteers clean up the arts center. This is a job he should have done but failed to do for years.

Well we'll see what happens tonight!

ps: The meeting went amazingly well. I set the agenda and the passive aggressive personality in our group was amazing quiet and well behaved.

Copyright 2005 by Mark Leon Winegar


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