Another great day in Orlando here. Not just with the family, but now with even more members!

I was talking to a friend who is also a leadership and management nut. I mentioned to him a conversation I had awhile back with someone else, in which I nodded to the fact that everyone has past supervisors and jobs — parts of which they carry with them into their next endeavor (good or bad). I told him how I was scoffed at for a theory when I am living proof of it.

He agreed with me (of course) and saidi it is all about triggers. How a former colleague of mine used to drive him batshit and yet all he could do was squelch it to keep a precarious peace. But when one of us, say, tried to give him constructive criticism, it was a trigger that unleashed all his frustration at the fact that there was no having a reasonable discussion with the impoossible colleague.

This good guy was the only person who ever made me cry. And he made one other gal cry, too. Now, he was awesome and always apologized within 30 seconds. That’s because he was able to identify the trigger and undo the damage that, in his mind, he was inflicting on the original source of his headaches.

He hasn’t launched a tirade on anyone ever since.

I was telling him about a supervisor I had for only a couple of months. The guy was ineffective at supervision but damn he was an idea guy, through and through. And I figured I could withstand any bumps in the supervisory process to take advantage of what I would learn from him about the creative process.

He reminded me of a mutual friend who is, incidentally, driving me nuts via text message right now. He was just like that wacky supervisor — he was an executive with no staff for a very long time. Because his company knew how goddamn bright he was and that he was meant to be a different kind of leader.

Imagine, a company allowing people to be themselves in order to get the best out of them.

Don’t get me wrong — those of us who worked indirectly for him had to find new and innovative ways to manage the madman. We just had to have a high pain threshold and the ability to hunt him down and beat the creativity out of him on a regular basis. We made it work. Went crazy in the process, but it’s all about hiring the right people for the right role.

In any case, I lamented only having a short amount of time with the guy I was looking forward to learning from. My friend said it was yet another classic case of HIS management trying to fit a box he was never made to fit in. I thought about our mutual friend and said, you know, these are the million-dollar-idea guys. Even if they come up with just one solid idea a year, it pays for everyone’s salaries.

Now you can’t leave them alone for too long or else they won’t share more than that one great idea. But man, the fun we had trying to mine for those ideas, you know? You never knew what was going to, oh, trigger their brilliance. But it sure wasn’t locking them in meetings and making them implement processes and construct spreadsheets. It was sending people like after them with a gun, a bottle of wine, the promise of hookers and blow, and a pen and paper to record the inevitable burst of genius.

God I miss that job sometimes. 🙂

Now, I am very glad for all the work I went on to do. It gave me a whole new appreciation for the work I did before and the people who can do it. That isn’t a skill anyone can teach you, nor is it something you can do forever. It’s kind of like being in the war — some people can do the military career thing; some of us can go on to be generals and deploy our squadrons into those minefields, and others need to go the civilian route and get out of the clown posse. (Yay mixed metaphors.)

I type all of this to say that I am trying to track down my beloved madman once again, to get caught up in the circus on a part-time contract basis. I can’t devote any more time or energy to it even if the full-time pay were there. But I will tell you this — he kept life interesting. And nothing bores me more than jumping in the same wheel every day and pedaling till I get dizzy.

I am looking forward to my new life. It is going to be nuts and frustrating and busy and it won’t pay nearly what I am worth at first. But damn it, I am going to have fun. Mostly, I am glad that I don’t haver to apologize any more for doing what I do best and have the most fun with.

The band is coming back together. And I will say it till I am dead — who you are working with is more important than what you do. We all have our secrets and we all trust each other with our lives. I would die for these people. And I know they’d do anything humanly possible for me.

That’s the thing about triggers. They can make you crazy and cause you to act unreasonably. But with the right people in the right situations, they can make you fight fiercely to keep the team alive, intact and moving forward. I am just sorry no one else ever recognized that quality in me, and sorrier still that any attempts to recreate that loyalty ground to a halt just as things were getting good.

Oh well. Can’t win them all. Just have to re-enlist and try to make the old magic work again in a new era. I can’t wait to do it all again — better, this time around.

One Lonely Response to Triggers

  1. Lachlan :

    “And I will say it till I am dead — who you are working with is more important than what you do.”

    THIS. Times ten. I am so grateful to be working with some amazing people- especially my German peeps, right now. Everyone is awesome. It’s inspiring, and since I am in more of a leadership position now, they drive me to be better.