Wednesday, March 30, 2005

The Grump Factor

You are sitting at your desk, reading your email and open the latest missive from your boss. Once again the bonehead has come up with a new direction for your company. You clear your throat and ask the person next to you "Have you seen what the idiot has sent us now?." In the cafeteria you sit with your co-workers grossing about how stupid this company is. But this doesn't just happen today. Everyday you find yourself at odds with the management. And while you have always been a "good soldier" and done exactly what was asked of you, you can't help but let your feelings be known.

Or perhaps you are the more silent type. Sighing, rolling your eyes, and simply showing through your body language that you are greatly put upon.

You might think that if you are really good at your job, and you do everything that has been asked of you that you will remain, in the eyes of your employer, a valuable member of the team.

However, in these times of cutbacks, more and more employers are considering the "grump factor." Simply put, the grump factor is a measure of how difficult it is to deal with an employee. How grumpy you are.

Recently a Fortune 500 company had to make a 20% cut in their workforce. The management chose the people that were going to be laid off. Every single employee was a hard worker, in fact some off them were the best at what they did. Each employee tried to figure out why THEY were chosen? What was the reason that the more incompetent employees were left standing while they were let go? Was it that they earned more money? Was it a personal vendetta against them? Was it sexism or ageism? Each employee failed to look at where the blame lay. Which was at their own feet. In a discussion with the management they stated that they used the "grump factor." Employees that had a bad attitude were considered expendable.

Obviously when it comes time to downsize many factors are considered. But more and more employers want to work with people who are easy to deal with. Employees who love what they do, and show others that they love it. I am not talking about a saccharine sweet phony attitude, I mean a sincere joy.

When Barbara Walters is asked by young people "What do I have to do to get ahead?"
She tells them "Don't complain, don't whine. Just make yourself so good that they cannot let you go. And don't be afraid to get the coffee if they ask you to get the coffee."

Not sure if you're being perceived as a grump, take this simple test.

Do you find yourself very easily identifying problems with your company and/or co workers?
Do you share that information with others? (including family, friends , co-workers)
Do you discount possible solutions as unworkable?
Is your criticism a validation of your over all perspective?
Do you often hear others with similar complaints?
Do you lend a willing ear to their complaints?
Do you sigh, roll your eyes or otherwise display your negative feelings using body language or tone of voice?
Are your creating less because of your displeasure?
Are you late to work or meetings?
Do you resent helping others finish their work?
Are you waiting for a change to happen?
Has anyone pointed out your negative behavior?
Do you have "good reasons" to be unhappy at work?

If you answered yes to more than 3 of these questions you may be a grump. I can guarantee that you will limit your growth unless you work on turning your attitude around.

Today, look at the three things you like best about your job. Try and focus on the good. Let others see and hear your positive comments. Start turning it around today.


Kim Snider said...

Here is something along similar lines from an article by Peter Drucker in the January 2005 Harvard Business Review titled Managing Oneself:

"At the same time, feedback will also reveal when the problem is a lack of manners. Manners are the lubricating oil of an organization. It is a law of nature that two moving bodies in contact with
each other create friction. This is as true for human beings as it is for inanimate objects. Manners—simple things like saying “please” and “thank you” and knowing a person’s name or asking after her family—enable two people to work together whether they like each other or not. Bright people, especially bright young people, often do not understand this. If analysis shows that someone’s brilliant work fails again and again as soon as cooperation from others is required, it probably indicates a lack of courtesy—that is, a lack of manners."

Mike Hodges said...

In my previous career I often heard, "A complaining Marine is a happy Marine." Management must stay beyond reproach, and subordinates must focus on the positive aspects of their tasks vice the negative. A person's attitude determines their altitude while climbing the corporate ladder. Pick and choose your battles wisely. I think Sun Tsu once said, "Sometimes you have to lose a battle to win the war." He meant that there should be a fair amount of give and take. Most people don't practice good interpersonal communication, and management skills. A coaching process is not implemented by a lot of organizations. I think the bottom line is the idea that most successful salespeople always maintain a positive mental attitude. In sales enthusiasm is contagious, and on the other hand if a salesperson wears his/her feelings on his/her sleeves the client will pick up on it.

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