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Things That Drive Me Crazy

Published October 17, 2011 2:53 PM by Adrianne OBrien

Editor's note: This blog was written by Scott Warner, author of the "Stepwise Success" column for ADVANCE for Medical Laboratory Professionals. He has been a hospital laboratory generalist for more than 30 years and manager since 1998.

While at a workshop on "change fatigue," it occurred to me that I cause my share of it. As a manager, I probably do plenty to drive people crazy. "What are you up to now?" and "Whose stupid idea is that?" are mild flattery. Our dance of reason is choreographed by temperament and urgency.

But I'm no less immune to workplace-induced insanity than anyone else. For what it's worth and in no particular order, here are a few things that drive me crazy:

  • Meetings about change. These meetings have two messages: change can't be stopped; resistance is useless. Also, People Hate Change (ask any Powerball winner). But people behave like children when they are treated like children, resistance is usually information and not insubordination, and change is always a choice.
  • Meetings without agendas. Any meeting should begin with "We are meeting because..." If there is no because, if there is no agenda, and if there is no discussion, whatever the meeting thinks it is trying to do is a waste of time and money. Parroting stuff from other meetings doesn't count.
  • Goldilocks response. Communication is the cure-all, but surprisingly little of it is just right. It's too hot, too cold, too little, absent or carpet-bomb, more often than not. Maybe, the messenger needs to first ask the receiver what the message should be. A limit of 25 words has my vote.
  • Too much e-mail. Some days email seems to be nothing but attachments, corrections to paper policies, reminders that something will be printed, or requests to please telephone. If you want to stop by my office or call me, don't send me an email about it. Don't send me an e-mail and then call 5 minutes later to ask me to read your email. And my name isn't "All," so stop clicking "Reply to All."

Naturally, I am guilty of all these things. I hope insanity isn't too contagious.


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