Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Man Cave: More Calling Grandpa Out

As regular Man Cave readers know, I enjoy debunking many of the pseudo-manly things grandpas reputedly say, like "anything worth doing is worth doing right." This week it is my intention to explain why "I will never expect anything of you that I wouldn't be willing to do myself" is a hollow precept of leadership.

I'm not above hard work. I'm not above sacrifice. That said, your life ain't my life, Grandpa (or boss, or whoever just jerked my chain with this glib little nugget.) Your situations aren't my situations. That being the case, you may be willing to do all kinds of things I'm not willing to do....and vise-verse. But since you've invoked this one-size-fits-all leadership tactic, let me show you were it falls short.

Let's say, for example, that I have kids and you do not. (I're my grandpa, so it's obvious you do have kids....but just go with it for the sake of argument. Let's just say that for now you are my boss.) Working at times that force me to miss my kid's events my not be something I'm willing to do. You may not understand why it's so important to me to be a my kid's soccer game on a particular Saturday morning, but it is. On the flip side, cleaning up barf may be something you aren't willing to do, but I've done it, like, a million times....sometimes off of myself.

Taking a bigger view, my life experiences may have given me insights and taught me things you don't understand as well. When you automatically assume that my circumstances equal yours, you lose many of the benefits I bring to the table; strengths that you may not yet have. You diminish our cumulative strength. Wouldn't it be wiser to leverage those strengths to give your family, business, or organization greater depth and power?

Instead of using an easy, but ineffective soundbite to coerce me into doing something unpleasant, why not ask me, listen to my concerns (if there are any), and work to find a solution that makes everyone happy?

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