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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.