Having Fun Making Others Bad
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.
Ah ah. As a true fan of your work, I sincerely hope this is only the beginning of a long franchise of books. Like volume 2: “Having Fun Making Others even Badder.” Or the entry level mandatory “Making Others Bad for Dummies.”
I, for one, am planning on writing my own books starting with: “Emotional Stupidity” and “Build to last… 30 days.” I surely hope you will do me the honor to write the preface.
Being an out-of-touch old man, I have no idea how blogs work. So, I hope this reply will get to you.
I think your ideas for a series of books is brilliant. Let’s you and I collaborate. There is so much we could teach the world about the inadequacy of other people!
“Built to Last… for 30 Days” is a great concept, but I think we could shorten the time.
On other fronts, I hope that all’s good with you, and that you are planning a triumphant return to Columbus.
Charles, you are a genius! I only wish I’d thought of writing this book first as I, too, am an expert on the topic!
Dear Ariel, Way to go! Thanks much for replying. Idea: Perhaps we could turn this into a course sequence and so-teach it at Michigan! I can see it now: Blaming and Complaining 101. Advanced Analyses of the Faults of Others 211. Dialogue on Not Listening to Others 310. Is it a deal?
It’s a deal!! Miss you, Charles! Hope you’re well.
I heartily agree with your premise: Hughes overreaches with all this stuff about “making good.” And I find your cutting edge proposition that sarcasm really works as fresh today as ever. In fact, I feel a brotherly bond with you now – as you so wisely said “I rest my case”!
As you put together your no doubt brilliant tome on making bad, I support your efforts by referring you to a blog a colleague and I established a few years ago in response to all this “Strengthsfinder” stuff. It is: Shadow Strengths and is available here: http://shadowstrengths.blogspot.com/ I think you will find helpful material there to support your case against the Hughesian debacle that is “Making Others Good.”
All my best to you, bro…
Dear Ross, Your website is brilliant. I plan to plagiarize it very often. I especially admire your firm stance against “positive psychology.” I mean, who needs it when there are Krispy Kreme donuts in the world?
All this time I knew you were a tragically misunderstood saint – now I see that you are a genius as well!
But don’t be too hard on Shayne, he clearly has just never met Helen, otherwise he would surely have titled his missive ““Making Others Good: The Crucial Tool for Transforming Dysfunction in Your Organization, Unless Your Organization Includes Helen, In Which Case Forget I Even Mentioned It!”.
The good news is that Shayne is willing to learn. For that reason, I look forward to his upcoming titles ““Making Others Good: The Crucial Tool for Transforming Dysfunction in Your Family, Except for Families with Difficult Mothers, In Which Case Forget I Even Mentioned It!” and ““Making Others Good: This Really Just Applies to Charles’ Friends, Otherwise Forget I Even Mentioned It!”.
Because we’re supposed to keep it simple, right? So let’s just make other good people good. That creates an automatic incentive for bad people to become good people like us – then we’ll make them good too. Simple, right?
Ok, I’ve got to get back to my exciting new business of selling (fantastic) shoes. Just waiting for the phone to ring. Any time now….
your Good friend always, jb
This is my first blog (I feel the need to uphold my age group’s stereotype of being cyber phobic), but if I had known it would prompt a reply from you, I would have written MUCH earlier.
As ever, your insights are gems of wisdom. I admire your compassion in believing that Shayne is willing to learn. Of course, if that fails to be the case, we can always practice our “making bad” skills on him.
When do I get to see you again? (Is that sort of thing appropriate to ask in a blog?) Perhaps we could do another seminar together. We could sit in the back and make the facilitators very bad. Sound like fun?
OMG guys, I am laughing to tears reading your trail of comments.
I am currently at a client’s, co-facilitating the “Making Others Good” session of our WeLead program, and I am so very inspired to make my colleague Laura bad. She gave me feedback yesterday that was of course completely unfair and unwarranted and I can’t wait to model your wise suggestions for the whole classroom!
How is it that I missed all this fun? Clearly someone prevented me from seeing this. Not that I want to blame my colleagues or make them bad but clearly they wanted to exclude me and prevent me from joining in the fun.