Respect My Authority
Knowing your place in the social order can be hard. Generally, most instinctively know where they fit and have made their peace with it.
So what the hell is wrong with my dog?!
Prancing around the house like she’s the Queen Bee. Making me change the way I live my whole life just so that she can be more comfortable.
This reminds me of one of my favourite Seinfeld quotes about if aliens were watching us and saw two life forms; one of them making poop and the other one’s carrying it for him, who would you assume is in charge? Full quote here
Lily entered our home and lives about a month ago. She was 6 months old and had endured a traumatic early life, and my wife is the sort who decides this is the kind of challenge we need to take on. The cute little puppies at the pet store are products of evil corporations, you see.
The monster of whom I speak (yeah, she seems like angel – don’t be fooled!):
Who am I to complain. Lily actually saved me a fortune. Those evil corporations are greedy, too. And what the hell; the furry little monster has started to grow on me. She knows I’m the boss but doesn’t do a damn thing I say. Where I went wrong was in my eagerness to ensure that she was happy and not afraid of me or my home. Apparently this made me seem soft and a pushover.
This got me thinking about work. Since my last blog post I’ve changed jobs and taken a leadership position (at Accenture, for those interested).
A few weeks in and I found myself buried in a new project for a new client and a new firm. Orders were coming in from every which way and I could barely spare a minute to catch my breath. I knew my place – I was the new guy and I had to sink or swim here and establish my place in the social order.
Then a senior executive said to me: why are you doing all that? Delegate and review. Wherever you can; delegate and review.
To which I replied: to who? And he said: to whoever you think can get it done.
I mulled over that for only a few minutes before I unleashed a torrent of emails and crossed off items from my todo list faster than I play Fruit Ninja.
Seems I was falling into the same trap at work as I did with Lily. Eager to please, afraid to make enemies, fear of rejection… The recipe for softness. To clarify; in my case I’m not superior than everyone on the team, however, in the role I’m performing I just need to get things done (yeah, I’m middle-management fluff now).
The fact of the matter is that everyone has a place. Most can accept their place and that of others and can exist without conflict. Even if one is giving orders and the other is taking them. Chances are, the one taking them is also giving them to someone else and on it goes.
But no one ever said this was set in stone.
If you’re not happy with your place, you have every right to challenge it. You should challenge it. Be confident in your abilities. Be assertive. Be respectful – of people above and below you. And you will be respected and rewarded accordingly.
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