People Meter Full

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Last night, I got nine hours of sleep which is amazing for two reasons.  First, it meant that our oldest dog (Dolly) who has issues with holding it didn’t disturb me and didn’t have an accident.  Secondly, I just don’t normally do that.  By choice, I get a little over six hours on weeknights and usually around seven or so on weekends.  Partly that is the last of the dance hangover but also the fact that I’ve been “on” for much of the week and I think my battery was empty.

I went to the Famous Franchise party on Thursday and had a good time.  I was actually planning on going to the party at Studio B last night but then it started raining.  We’ve had a pretty rough week weather wise with real strong storms.  It has felt more like spring than late August because it always seems like August is the dry season where the grass stops growing and sometimes dries up.  Not this year.  But it was one of those nights when it was storming and it just felt safer to stay inside and watch things so that’s what I did.  And that was probably for the best.

I did have the Big Dance Event last weekend and that meant being surrounded by people for several days.  I handled it better than I have before which is likely because I wasn’t having any personality clashes with my instructor.  I do enjoy watching the spectacle that is a dance competition and it was easier to do with a table full of people from my studio.  Even though we didn’t communicate a lot, it never felt like past years where I’d be the lone person at a table and would start to feel isolated and then like everyone was starting at me.  But it was still a whole weekend with no real alone time to recover.

Here’s the thing about social situations.  If I’ve got a group around me, I do actually enjoy socializing and I can have a lot of fun.  But that is only if I have people I’m comfortable with to be around.  Take that away from me, and then I start to feel like I’m some kind of freak or outcast and all I want to do is run away.  I think this is a misconception about introverts as we are all assumed to be shy or anti-social.  I just goggled it and the Oxford Dictionary comes up with “A shy, reticent person.”  Seriously, how long do we have to put up with the assumption that introversion and shyness are the same thing?  To their credit, they thrown in a second definition about someone who is concerned with their own thoughts and feelings which is better but now makes us sound self-centered because many of us are certainly concerned about others thoughts and feelings.  The one true thing about introverts is that we do expend energy when interacting with the external world and need time to pull back and recharge.

Anyway, before I get off on a rant, I wanted to touch on the rest of the week since I feel the need to write and I’m kind of on a free association roll here.  We did have a company celebration on Thursday because we’ve just completed a major project.  So they bussed us all to a place to celebrate and we had the usual talks by bigwigs telling us what a great job we did and how this was going to be a difference maker and on and on.  Remember what I said earlier about social events?  Yes, this was one of the bad ones.  One of the things that is tough for me is that I’m the boss and there is that invisible line when it comes to socializing with the boss.  On the other hand, I don’t have a lot of friends who are bosses so I hung out on some fringe groups and said hi to a few people and then grabbed one of the early busses back to the company.

Then, there’s being the boss.  I’m an INFP which is an idealist personality type and parts of it fit my very well.  I’m not a planner and I do seem to look for the best in people.  I don’t get stressed out about projects or deadlines because I just figure we’ll find some way to get things done.  I don’t like telling people what to do because I hate being told what to do.  So I don’t like standardization unless there is a good reason to because I prefer to let people have the flexibility to do things in their own way.

In management, you kind of have to toss out the golden rule “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” because I have a lot of Guardian types on my team.  There are many ways to describe them but I’ll just lift a part from the Kiersey Temperament Website.

Practical and down-to-earth, Guardians believe in following the rules and cooperating with others. They are not very comfortable winging it or blazing new trails; working steadily within the system is the Guardian way, for in the long run loyalty, discipline, and teamwork get the job done right. Guardians are meticulous about schedules and have a sharp eye for proper procedures. They are cautious about change, even though they know that change can be healthy for an institution. Better to go slowly, they say, and look before you leap.

Our business has a large number of procedures and processes that have to be followed and there is good reason to do so but I find that these Guardians are obsessed with following the rules.  And they’ll assume something is a rule even if it isn’t.  I had one person who told me that she was OK if I made up the rules as long as there was a rule to follow.  I know this is part of their comfort zone but it can seriously drive me crazy.

We have a project coming up this fall and I’ve assigned to someone to give them an opportunity to managed a bigger project.  Well, the problem is that this project requires working with another division so we don’t always have clear guidance on what rules to follow.  For me, this is not a problem because I’m guided more by my internal sense of right and wrong and it is easier to navigate when things are murky.  But this person really can’t handle it.  And then they keep making problems that aren’t really there like that I have to deal with.

Case in point was the discussion yesterday about the report titles because they thought there was a rule and they couldn’t figure out how to follow it.  There was no rule but others had done things a certain way so they just assumed it was a rule and how things had to be done.  And so I had to explain that, no, it wasn’t a rule and they had freedom in how to title the report.  Now, I should point out that we aren’t starting anything until November so the reports are many months in the future but this person is already fretting about it.  And, this is not the first thing they’ve been fretting over.  I get multiple questions about “what happens if” and so on.  The sarcastic part of me wants to say “Look, the Super Volcano in Yellowstone could erupt tomorrow and cover us in ash and then none of this would matter”  as a way of saying you can’t cover all contingencies and sometimes you just have to deal with things as they come.  So dealing with the Guardian/SuperPlanner is a bit exhausting for me because I just don’t see the world in the same way.

Had another pair of Guardians doing lab inspections yesterday and they noticed a couple of ceiling tiles that were discolored.  Our building roof sucks and we get water leaks and condensation a lot.  But they came back convinced that the tiles were going to cave in and water was going to come rushing out and destroy everything.  Then, they got a third Guardian involved and were going on about whether they should call facilities right now and get someone over.  So, I told them to cool it, and looked at the lab and said I didn’t think it was an urgent situation and that a normal work order would be fine.

Look, the world needs all kinds of people so I’m not trying to sound like I’m better than they are.  We need planners and we need Guardians because they can bring order and structure to the chaos.  But, like everything else, a strength can reflect as a weakness and be taken too far and that happens a lot at work where two or three of them start seeing a problem that really isn’t a big problem but they want to rush off and solve it and then fret about the best way to do it.  I’m the one who gets to say “calm down, take a breath, its not that bad”.  But that also expends energy and it seems like a had to do a lot of that this week.

Oh well, the good news is that I’m well rested 🙂


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