By Guest Blog Poster, Sean Glaze
First, let’s agree that there is a huge difference between toxic people and difficult people.
Toxic people have no place on your team.
But difficult people, while they may not be the perfect teammate, can share a useful perspective… and can have a beneficial effect on your productivity…
Dealing with difficult people is a lot like caring for a cactus.
It’s funny how sometimes two or three very different experiences provide an unexpected insight. The other day my family and I were at Lowes (shopping for items necessary to complete my honey-do list).
In addition to the wallpaper and crown molding and other items I had to buy, my daughter saw something she wanted, and it found its way into our cart.
It was a potted cactus that she thought was pretty.
This struck me as interesting, as earlier that day I had seen an image with the following quote by Joyce Meyer:
“Being negative only makes a difficult journey more difficult.
You may be given a cactus, but you don’t have to sit on it.”
Much like many people in many offices across the country, my daughter was given a cactus.
But my daughter went into the relationship with her cactus with eyes that found beauty in it. She wasn’t dreading the experience of working with or being around it…
On our way home, my daughter even commented, “I wonder if it will have pretty flowers.”
And I didn’t know… until I researched it and learned that ALL cactus plants can grow flowers!
Every cactus is actually capable of blooming!
Turns out that cactus plants are a lot like people.
And, like most of us, whether or not the cactus blooms depends completely on the type of care it receives, and when it matures. Some cactus plants won’t bloom until they are over 30 years old (I think we have all worked with those people).
But some cactus plants won’t ever bloom if they do not get placed in the right conditions and get the water and light and fertilization they need.
And I would tend to believe, like Joyce Meyer, that NO cactus plants will bloom if you are constantly sitting on them.
Sitting on a cactus is unhealthy for the plant – and painful for the sitter!
Likewise, criticizing or assuming the worst of a co-worker (“sitting” on them) is not the best way to get them to bloom…
If you want the best out of your teammates – however prickly they may seem – the best thing you can do is to provide an environment that is conducive to their growth and maturity.
Most WILL bloom under better care… and the right conditions.
And if they don’t, then that is the time to consider re-potting that plant in a different location.
So How do You Make a Cactus Bloom?
Your cactus needs two things.
- Winning teammates assume the best of the people around them.
If you are dealing with a difficult person – remember that every cactus can bloom given the right conditions and care. You can only control YOUR behavior – but our perceptions and assumptions color our behaviors. Are you actively looking for the beauty and goodness in your office cactus?
- Winning Teammates encourage others and help them to grow.
If someone is struggling to grow, they may just need more water and fertilizer.
As a team building speaker, one of the key take-aways from my programs is that victims are pointers, but winning teammates ask themselves “what part of my leadership led to this outcome?” For your office cactus, that may mean that you can help them to develop with training or delegating tasks that will help them to grow and feel like an important contributor to the team.
Sometimes a cactus produces the most impressive flowers...
It may take a while, but every cactus can bloom…
If you would like to add a bit of light and laughter to your organizational environment, consider the positive impact that an Atlanta Teambuilding event could have on your people.
Building relationships and laughing together and recognizing the power of collaboration can have a terrific influence on your team culture – and sometimes we need to be reminded that everyone else sees us as a cactus…
But every cactus can bloom, given the right conditions and care.
Author notes for Sean Glaze:
Sean inspires people to have fun laughing together so they can have more success working together. His three books, The Unexpected Leader, Rapid Teamwork, and The 10 Commandments of Winning Teammates are powerful parables for building and leading great teams!
As a successful coach and educator for over 20 years, Sean gained valuable insights into how to develop winning teams – and founded Great Results Teambuilding to share those lessons…
Today, he travels around the country delivering interactive events and entertaining keynotes that transform employees into winning teammates!