Tina Lewis Rowe

Insights, Information & Inspiration

A Nudge May Be Enough

Sometimes a nudge is enough--and more is too much. This post follows the one about being cheerful and busy without being excessive. So, I guess moderation is the theme for now!

Some people complain that workplaces are filled with self-centered people who don’t extend themselves to help others. However, it seems to me there are a lot of Rescuers, too.  A Rescuer, in Transactional Analysis concepts, is someone who puts more effort into solving another person’s problem than that person is putting into it. This may be motivated by sincere interest and a desire to be helpful–or by a bit of ego about having a solution to every problem. (It also can be a way to control and repress others.)

Even appropriate help and support should be limited in time and quantity.  This refers to meddling and smothering rather than appropriate assistance and support by supervisors or coworkers. Have you ever known a know-it-all who always has a better way to do things?  Avoid that by suggesting resources you find effective, but not lecturing.  Unless it is crucial that the other person does it your way, let them find the solution that is best for them. 

A friend (Chris) told me about working to break a habit. His supervisor knew about it but went far past being encouraging to becoming like a therapist. Every time the supervisor saw Chris he’d mention it, pull him aside to ask how he was doing, and often critique his efforts.  It  was excessive and irritating. When the supervisor started researching support groups Chris acted disinterested and the supervisor seemed offended that his help wasn’t appreciated. However, he needed to stop his excessive involvement.

Too much mentoring? The same goes for mentoring behavior–some of it is supportive and encouraging. Too much of it can be overwhelming. It’s good to have high expectations for others as long as we don’t try to push them to be our version of what is successful.

Pay attention to the reaction you get when you give advice or encouragement. If you are trying to be helpful about an issue that is not related to good work for which you are ultimately responsible, notice the reactions you’re getting. If you mostly hear excuses or if your suggestions seem to be shrugged off or even resented, stop. Even if it appears your advice is appreciated, back off if you don’t see any of it being taken.  Nudging once or twice is helpful,  pushing, pulling, shoving or dragging is not.

July 31st, 2009 Posted by | Life and Work, Supervision and Management | 8 comments