Recently I have been interacting more with the infrastructure corner of our company again. IT infrastructure I mean, so servers, computers…the things which beep.
Whilst most of the departments I meet recently are helpful, challenging, stressful, harsh, unfriendly etc. etc. but all seem to have one thing in common – the try to get to a solution.
In the infrastructure area I interact with a person which is more unnerving than anybody else. Him and I in a meeting is like the attempt to cure braincancer with a bullet to the head.
That’s quite amazing because I have a lot of departments I interact with. A lot of those people are difficult customers, powerful and time consuming – I would consider myself to be a bit similar. But I can deal with these. I can’t deal with that guy. Even now, 24 hours later, after a 5 km run with my 8 year old, after making the garden. After crying about a dead neighbour child. After meeting refugees on the street – this guy sticks in my brain like a tumour. Speaking of which, my father was just diagnosed with cancer.
It’s amazing that this guy troubles me more than all of the things above. It’s unfair, because he really doesn’t deserve this place, this commitment. My thoughts should be with my father who will be in surgery next week. With the refugees, with my own kids, maybe with the rain which stopped my garden work. Anything but this person.
So what makes him so…overwhelmingly present? I believe it’s because he manages to be the opposite what I would expect from a colleague in all dimensions or in more dimensions at the same time than everybody else. Even the most distressing encounters with top management do normally only hit one/two strings of my nerve system. Normally these are
- Using power of position to get their ideas into my schedule
- Power distance – their decision don’t make much sense to me
So if the two things above happen, which is by far not always the case, then I have the standard-worst-case-scenario with top management. When interacting with colleagues what I normally find difficult is
- Unwillingness to take responsibility
- Lack of proactivity
- Kindergarten behaviour
- a lot more
This guy, despite him not being anywhere close to top management (I believe he is merely a team lead) he has a certain power, as he lives in that infrastructure-ivory-tower. His house, his rules. My feet under his table etc. etc. And I seem to enter his house, sticking my feet under his table. And I feel the urge to fart, eating with dirty hands and burping loud. And he seems to have the urge to strangle me, get some discipline into my poor being. There is a certain distance – I don’t understand his needs and his motivation to act as he does and he completely lacks the skill of communicating those. So his comments, wishes and idea mostly sound stupic and problem ortientated to my ears.
He is completely unwilling to take any responsibility, because he is afraid of it. Thus he can’t act (not thinking about pro-active even) and we see a certain Kindergarten behaviour as his secret needs and wishes are of course not fullfilled by me, as I don’t know what those could be. I have a feeling it’s me licking his shoes, but I am not sure. He also tends to humiliate me in front of a group of colleagues – and last Friday I was overly tired and exhausted after a marathon of meetings during the complete week. I wasn’t able to respond even I just sucked it up and went on, knowing that he is just one point in a long line of problems waiting to be solved in the next months.
Nevertheless, it can’t go on like this. This dude and I have a quarrel going (and it’s a quarrel he has with literally everybody I know) which needs to stop.
The biggest lesson learned after writing this down is I can’t have meetings with him when I am vulnerable, weak, exhausted and tired.