by Professor Charles Behling
Learning as Leadership’s new booklet “Making Others Good: The Crucial Tool for Transforming Dysfunction in Your Organization” has been getting entirely too much buzz lately, and that must stop. Its author, Shayne Hughes, who was my coach when I went through LaL’s seminars, overreaches. He claims the tool he writes about can help teams create more trust and collaboration – as if that were even possible! (What’s their next book – Making World Peace?)
In response, out of integrity for the truth about human nature and potential, I’ve decided to publish my own riposte, Having Fun Making Others Bad. I am extremely qualified to author this book. Just look at two of my greatest successes in Making Bad:
- I have spent hundreds of hours fortifying work relationships through gossiping and trashing others. Blaming the boss has been a fabulous team-building activity in three different key roles, and it also provides great on-the-job training for when these colleagues turn on you!
- Closer to home, my disparaging descriptions of my former wife have been invaluable to my children in understanding our divorce. It provides them with endless raw material to discuss with their therapist.
I have a lifetime of examples, but let’s come back to my book. Here are three crippling rebukes that Having Fun Making Others Bad will deliver to Making Others Good:
First of all, get real. It is impossible to make some people good. Take my colleague, Helen, for example. Have you seen her desk? And the stupid remarks she makes in meetings? There is NO way that she earned that promotion over me. Her selection is clear proof that our administration is blinded by flattery and threatened by really smart people. Like me.
Secondly, it is way too time-consuming to make people good. For example, just last week Helen was making suggestions on how I could improve a project I’m managing. Count the syllables in the following responses, and see what’s quicker to say: “Whatever” or “I’d like to hear more of your ideas.”
Third, making bad feels so much better. Try this experiment: Say these two sentences out loud and see which one peps you up more: “I’m right” versus “I have a lot to learn from Helen.” Would you rather feel righteous and superior, or get all humble and curious? I know, me too. I rest my case.
As if more wisdom were needed, my book will contain a chapter on the ways that Making Others Good limits your job advancement. For example, it’s a terrible strategy if you want to get elected to Congress.
In conclusion, let me say that Helen doesn’t have a clue how to do her job.
In order to fully benefit from the insights of Having Fun Making Others Bad, Professor Behling recommends reading “Making Others Good” as a prerequisite. He is the retired Co-Director of The Program on Intergroup Relations at The University of Michigan.