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Los Angeles, CA, United States


Saturday, October 22, 2011

Hysteria, Histrionics, and Hyperbole

I've been on a bit of a hiatus from this blog because of my new job.  But I'm back and have some new things I want to get off my chest.

I was watching the news the other day about a CEO discussing his time spent on an advisory board for Obama on how to streamline the government.  He said, "Congress operates on the 3 H's-Hysteria, Histrionics and Hyperbole."  That comment has been stuck in my head for a while as I reflected upon the different management styles I've encountered at while working at different companies.

There is no doubt that the 3 H's occur at most if not all companies.  Why? Because there is always someone who invariably adopts this management style because it's his or her way of tell all the others, "Hey, look at me, I care."  More often than not, these are the people who create drama and are the centerpiece.  They will yell or speak louder during a discussion.  Their points will be self indulging without looking at the total picture and usually, there the first to criticize a decision if it runs counter to their opinion.  Instead of being solution-oriented and working through the issue, a 3H manager will focus on the cause looking for someone to throw under the bus.  And the funny thing is that these type of managers are convinced that they're doing the right thing.

Yeah, I've worked with quite a few and admittedly, I think I may have fallen into the 3H mode once or twice in my career.  But overall, I try to think of solution.  First, deal with the current problem, fix or mitigate the consequences then focus on the cause and determine if the process was flawed or was it a training issue.  Oh, the dreaded "training issue"- it's management-speak for saying someone really f'd up and the only explanation is that they weren't properly trained.  It's often used as a euphemism when someone has a brain fart. 

I think it's important to make a distinction between urgency and Hysteria/Histrionics/Hyperbole.  Urgency is that feeling that something needs to get done asap and people are in problem solving mode and willing to do what it takes to make the issue better.  The triple H method is to fly around blaming others, avoid any accountability, throw darts, and generally pull a Pontius Pilate and wash their hands of the mess. 

Rather than being respectful, a 3H manager will talk about your actions behind your back to anyone who would listen.  A 3H manager is the screamer and if he/she is in a superior position, watch out because this is a type of manager that will undress you with a verbal tirade in front of your peers and employees.  I know, I've been there.

Oftentimes, a 3H manager will mask their deficiencies behind all their rhetoric.  It's a good way to deflect their lack of understanding of business and the complexities of the processes. 

So if you're reading this and wondering where I'm going with it; honestly, I have no clue other than to reminisce about my experience with hysterical drama queen managers.   If you have to work with one, my deepest sympathies to you and your co-workers.  Just remember not to fall into the 3 H mode or you may lose all respect from your colleagues and more importantly, your self.

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