You do it to yourself

I wrote last week about the difference between “They and We”. After writing the post I was reminded of a song by Radiohead called “Just”. The chorus lyric goes

“You do it to yourself, you do
And that’s what really hurts
Is that you do it to yourself
Just you and no one else
You do it to yourself
You do it to yourself”

…….. which got me thinking. Working as a coach and trainer I see numerous examples of self sabotage and the saddest thing is that people actually do “do it” to themselves. Let me give you two recent examples.

I was delivering some training and one of the delegates became very animated about changes in the organisation. The delegate was happily blaming the ubiquitous “They” for all his woes. He mentioned a particular reorganisation initiative which even 20 years later is a touchstone within the company for how not to treat staff.

Except that when his workmates did some maths, he wasn’t even working for the company at that point. They challenged him and in fairness he admitted it but his colleagues were stunned. His credibility just washed away in that moment.

A different day, a different organisation and a similar person. In this instance the member of staff was railing against management, how “they” didn’t want staff like him, prepared to challenge their thinking. That was why he had been passed over for promotion etc etc. Part of the course was encouraging the delegates to use a new feedback model. In this model you focus on an action, explain the impact of that and then offer a way ahead. This member of staff saw his chance with a senior manager in the room and used both barrels.

Imagine his surprise when the manager calmly accepted the feedback. Then the manager used the same model to feedback something along the lines of “when you relentlessly and publicly complain about any change, people become tired of you which is a shame because you have some excellent ideas which we could really use”.

It was pleasing in the second example when a manager used the model I was teaching as the starting point for a new conversation. However, I’m aware that not every story has such a happy ending. I don’t have a specific call to action this week but I invite you to consider what you are doing to yourself and is it positive / in your best interests?



About Jon Bartlett

I'm a coach, blogging on things that occur to me, that I want to share and any other fun stuff I find lying around in the real world.
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