Infuriate Your Boss

Infuriate Your Boss – Chapter 11

Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr

The following are approximately the first 1000 words from Chapter 11 of Jonar Nader’s book,
How to Lose Friends and Infuriate Your Boss.

Would a hit-man ring your doorbell?

Living dangerously; living graciously

As a child, I remember feeling my heart skip a beat whenever I heard a loud thumping on the front door. My mother and I would look at each other and wonder who it could be and what they might want. In time, we knew to appear as casual as possible on answering the door, so as not to give the impression of feeling intimidated. In the underground world of gangsters and ruffians, intimidation must be greeted nonchalantly if one is to start on a sure footing.

One day, when there was a disturbing knock at our door, I opened it to find three burly men towering over me.

‘Is your father at home?’ asked the one with a scruffy moustache.

My mother appeared in the corridor. ‘No,’ she said. ‘But please come in.’

Her confident manner disguised her fear that the men could force their way in if they wanted to. There was little need for dialogue with the men, whose demeanour gave a clear indication about who they were and what they wanted.

Our visitors were obviously professional hit-men. But even gangsters and mobsters have a code of conduct that they live by. Like other professionals, they tend to be good at what they do. What stands out is their discipline, their adherence to their word, and their dedication to their (albeit usually illegal) cause. I do not condone illegal activities, nor do I choose to associate with gangsters of any kind. Unfortunately, over the years, I have come across a number of them, and they have taught me two valuable lessons. The first is that their word is their bond. They would lay down their life before they would consider going back on their promise. This is a quality that, sadly, many people lack. I prefer to associate with people who say what they mean, and mean what they say. I am always sorely disappointed when people go back on their word or when they do not deliver on their promise.

The other lesson I learned was grace. Professional gangsters are usually able to balance their brutal nature with tolerance for what is known in the underworld as IPs (innocent parties). My mother and I were innocent parties. We knew that we had nothing to fear, so long as the IP factor could be established. From the moment we were identified as IPs, we were treated very well. I felt safe with these murderers. They treated me like a son. They treated my mother with respect and courtesy. They were remarkably and genuinely gentle. They had no axe to grind with us, so there was no need for them to intimidate us.

This story illustrates four personal characteristics that are important if you are to succeed in the work environment. They are:

1) maintaining grace under pressure

2) protecting innocent parties

3) honouring promises

4) maintaining humility.

The rest of this chapter explores each of these characteristics in more detail.

1. Maintaining grace under pressure

Immature people often are rude and inconsiderate towards those whom they dislike. They seem to think that it is acceptable for them to lower their standards of behaviour when dealing with irritating colleagues.

Conflict is a natural part of life. The world is full of opposing forces that tend either to annihilate each other or to clash constantly. At other times, opposing forces fuse to create a whole new set of problems or opportunities. The ideal state is one of control. The next-best state is one of balance. Although maintaining balance is relatively easy, achieving it in the first place can be a challenge. The third-best state is to learn to co-exist with opposing forces or with people you dislike. Such co-existence is known as peace. This means that you can operate peacefully without having to embrace undesirable elements. (The opposite of this is called co-dependence, where both parties become entangled in each other’s unwholesome habits.)

Living peacefully means not allowing others to upset your good nature. Living generously means injecting energy into other people’s lives. Living mercifully means allowing others to cope with their frailties. Living gracefully means not draining others of their emotional resources, and not expecting them to meet your standards.

Even amid conflict, it is important that you do not lose sight of the characteristics that define who you are. If you stoop to the level of your opponents, you could be guilty of displaying the characteristics that you were fighting to eradicate in the first place. By all means take on the battle, and fight the good fight, but do not play by the rules that triggered your disdain.

Peace, generosity, mercy, and grace are not human qualities that can be applied selectively. They are either ever-present or non-existent. It is not possible to possess these qualities in half-measures, or only some of the time.

You can express your sense of peace through forgiveness. You can express your generosity through civility. You can express your mercy through clemency. And you can express your grace through courtesy.

Are you courteous? Are you pleasant to deal with? Are you sensitive to other people’s needs? We spend so much of our time at work trying to enrich our own life, we sometimes lose sight of how our behaviour might impact others.

Remember that what you do and what you say reverberate in ways that you might never know. In view of the huge impact that people have on each other, it is important to live graciously so that we can be sure we are doing everything we can to enrich other people’s lives. For example, you might like to consider how you express your gratitude towards your colleagues. When was the last time you sent handwritten notes of thanks to your workmates? Did you personally thank your boss the last time you were invited out to lunch with the group? Always make a point of recognising and appreciating the generosity of others.

Grace also means knowing how to listen. It means being sensitive to other people’s presence. When you interact with junior staff, do you make them feel that you are interested in their well-being? When you are in a meeting, do you kowtow to the powerbroker and ignore the efforts of the meek?

Comments are closed.