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Strength in Weakness

Posted on June 15, 2022


Stereotypical caring manager

Today’s Morning Buzz is brought to you by Matt Horn, Director of Local Government Services for MRB Group.  Follow Matt on LinkedIn, but don’t follow too closely–this vehicle makes frequent stops.

What I’m Watching:  Re-watching The Sopranos as a study in organizational management.

What I’m Listening to:  A maaasssive summer time playlist…so…much…Buffett…

What I’m Reading:  “Eat That Frog” by Brian Tracy…or at least I’m trying to…I keep getting distracted…


It happens every day…you go into a meeting, take a call, or just bump into a resident on the street.  The conversation starts out simply enough–

“What the heck is wrong with you guys down at City Hall?  My leaves have been piled up in front of my house for weeks!!  Are you all just sitting around down here?!?” 

Hmmm…no wrong way to take that.  You bristle, and prepare to launch into your most impassioned diatribe about serving your community, working long hours, dealing with limited resources, yadda, yadda, yadda…

Before you commence with an oratory overview of your Outlook Calendar and all of the important things you’re working on, think about how this situation might be diffused…

A Little Vulnerability Goes A Long Way

If you’re not already all the way comfortable with your feelings, head over to the ole’ public library and go right to the Brene Brown section.  Dr. Brown has multiple volumes on the power of vulnerability in making connections with your peers, colleagues, customers, and other stakeholders.

Most importantly, her books share the value that vulnerability has in making you a better neighbor, husband, wife, and friend…to yourself.  Lower blood pressure, higher self esteem…that’s right–acknowledging your challenges actually improves your self esteem.

So, back to that streetside verbal bashing…just before you share your unvarnished opinion of this person’s take on your performance, try this…

  • Breathe in, hold it for 5 seconds, and breathe out.
  • Acknowledge that it’s completely possible that staff didn’t meet his expectations.
  • Share stories of other situations where the staff is challenged to achieve desired outcomes
  • Reaffirm your commitment to the community, and your true desire to serve him better next time

Maybe your response looks like…”Oh my goodness Mr. Oakdroppings; you are the third person I’ve heard this from today (acknowledging that he’s not alone in his frustration).  Our team was really hoping to have bounced back to pre-pandemic service levels by now (offering an answer, but not an excuse), I’m going to talk to the team about Treeleaf Lane and see if we can get more resources out there…(commitment to look at it, without overpromising).  Here’s my card…please call or email if you see other areas we can improve…”

Chances are, his blood pressure is now down.  Yours is too…be vulnerable, even with people who don’t deserve it…it will make you a better manager, and a better friend…to you…

Now get out there and get those dang leaves picked up…slacker…

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