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Who Would You Throw Your Shoes At?

Estimated reading time: 1 mins

Did you see the news item where an Iraqi journalist, Muntadhar al-Zaiydi, threw his shoes at President George W Bush? Whether you’re a Bush supporter or not, it’s hard not to see the funny side of this, especially at the skill in which ‘W’ dodged the missiles. [Are these classed as Weapons of Mass Destruction?]

Who would you throw your shoes at? And who would throw their shoes at you?

It’s hard not to feel so freakin’ frustrated at times to not want to throw objects at people. Only last week, a respected colleague said something so dumb that I was looking for suitable items to make a pitcher-style lob at him. Would this have been an outward demonstration of company values? No – of course not – but in the moment, who cares?

You know, I think it’s OK to vent frustration. It turns a situation into something real and tangible. The opposite is worse – when we just shut up and boil up inside, and then later find some passive-aggressive means of retaliation, such as locking out your opponent’s network account, or accidentally forgetting to send them a vital communication.

At least flying shoes can be ducked.

Perhaps hurling footwear is an extreme response, but being vocal about your ill feelings, as long as they are well grounded, is very positive. One of the big dangers for organizations in this economic climate is that employees, in fear of retribution, just keep their thoughts to themselves. This creates a culture of distrust that a highly productive organization can’t sustain. I’d rather see ballistic shoes than polite nods through gritted teeth if it means that conflict is open and resolvable.

Would you like a pair of size 12 thrown at your head? Probably not, but if one option is to see productivity drop, morale take a nose-dive and a bubbling morass of ill-feeling to develop, or the other option is to observe open conflict about real issues and solutions discovered, then I’ll draw a target on my forehead and hand out Rockports and Jimmy Choos.

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About the author /


Simon is a creative and passionate business leader dedicated to having fun in the pursuit of high performance and personal development. He is co-founder of Applied Change, a Business Change consultancy based in the UK. Simon is also an Ambassador for Gloucestershire business. Simon is an Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Professional Development.

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4 Comments

  1. Dave Crain

    Did you hear any of the clips from our late-night comedians? Jay Leno was probably the funniest, asking where the Secret Service was during all this. Jay said he could understand the first shoe getting through, but shouldn’t someone from the Secret Service thrown themselves in front of the second?

     
  2. simonstapleton

    @Dave – Guess the Secret Service thought that W was ducking and diving adequately!

     
  3. Drew Douglass

    I’ll throw two shoes and one of Simons at the IE6 dev team.

    In all seriousness, I couldn’t help but feel bad for him when I saw the video. I don’t like the guy, but that was pretty disrespectful. Oh and hilarious 🙂

     

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