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June 26, 2013


Elyssa Thome

I've heard that straight-A students make terrible salespeople because they don't handle failure well. I would be a terrible salesperson.
Learning how to move on from failure (large and small) is an important but difficult part of life in general, and specifically business. I'm curious if teaching employees to be aware of external reactions is more or less effective than teaching employees it really doesn't matter in the grand scheme. Then again, I'm not sure that course is available either.
Either way I think your example, Kris, about letting your son learn that nobody cares but him is actually where real progress will be made. We need to start young and teach failure is ok. To an extent.

Alan O

Wow... two weeks, two posts on Personality dynamics in the workplace. Love it!

To me, this one fits under the category of: Our biggest weaknesses are the flip side of our greatest strengths.

Sensitivity is the natural habitat of those who give a $#!*. We're always looking for evidence of sensitivity, and when we find it, we hire it. It correlates with conscientiousness, the pursuit of mastery, ability to police ones' self, good organizational citizenship, and coachability.

Save me from employees whose response to performance failure is: "meh."

Yes, absolutely it has to be coached, guided, and monitored...and an astute manager will recognize the players on the team who might take "cares about her own performance" to a dangerous extreme.

But I'd much rather teach someone who cares an awful lot to lighten up a bit, than to prompt and prod and push the "naturally unconcerned" staff to worry a bit more about the cost of their mistakes and oversights.

Josh Westbrook

Well, all the smart money is telling us that we're getting too soft, PC, or sensitive as a country and it's having a negative impact on our education system and economy. As a country we seem to be "all in" on sensitivity right now. That's because they're too many people who profit from over-sensitivity (i.e. politicians, unions, lawyers, etc...). When the majority of our employees see more profit potential in grievances, arbitration, lawsuits, or just plain sensitivity and complaining, then good-bye economy. Hopefully that hasn't already happened. What happened to the good ole days when work was more profitable than complaining?

You make a great point. Our time in HR is much better spent and more value added from teaching people how to be less sensitive than from teaching them how to be more sensitive.

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