Every complaint an opportunity

The old joke after reading a fortune cookie fortune out loud is to add “between the sheets” to the end of whatever it says.

“You will make someone very happy.” (Between the sheets.)

The next time you hear somebody at work complaining about somebody else from a different generation, add this phrase to the tale end of their complaint: “Like I do.”

“Those young people just don’t work!” (Like I do)

“He just doesn’t get it.” (Like I do)

“She is not doing it right.” (Like I do)

“He is not listening.” (Like I do)

“She is not paying attention.” (Like I do)

“Millennials just don’t care.” (Like I do)

“Boomers talk too much.” (Like I do)

“You aren’t thinking about it (like I do).”

Often all of our complaints about working with people from other generations can be summed up by saying they “just don’t do it like I do it.” The heart of the complaint is not about the work being right or wrong, but about it being different from how we think it should be done. It looks different. It feels different. It produces a different result. It makes us crazy. But–as they said when I was a kid–who died and made you the arbiter of what’s right?

Every complaint is an opportunity to learn, and to go deeper on something new. Who knows, there might be an idea of solid gold in your midst.

by Jonathan Wilson

Jonathan is the Head Coach at Sandcastle Company, a Seattle-based leadership training organization. His first book, Future Leader: Rebooting Leadership to Win the Millennial and Tech Future [link], is now available. Jonathan regularly writes and speaks about The New Leader Way, leadership resilience, and the future of work. He has years of leadership experience in both the public and private sectors, a master's degree from Seattle University, and professional coach training from the University of Miami.

Filed under: Leadership

Published on August 6, 2019

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