He reversed slowly into a space that wasn’t quite long enough. He got stuck at an odd angle (I do it all the time!) and pulled forward and tried again. He had the wheels at exactly the same angle, started in the same place, and unsurprisingly the same thing happened again.
A few curious people in the nearby coffee shop looked on as he went backwards and forwards, laboriously, in the slush covered road. The driver was obviously getting increasingly frustrated. Suddenly, without any warning, he reversed rapidly, wheels spinning in the slush. He ran straight into the car parked behind him.
He got out, yelling and cursing. One of the coffee drinkers got up and asked him why he had just run into his parked car. Heated and colourful words were exchanged, and the police were called.
When the police arrived, he man who couldn’t park made a great deal of street theatre for us all. He called to everyone around to witness that he, a black man, (as he called himself) was being arrested for no reason other than his colour and that parking restrictions should not exist.
The man’s colour is of no consequence here, but his attitude is. How often have we tried something that didn’t work, repeated the same thing, got cross, done something stupid, and blamed someone else, stupid rules and regulations?
A lot of people deal with their staff that way. We have a team member who doesn’t seem to be performing very well. We do something we think will fix the problem. It doesn’t. We keep doing the same thing for a while, get cross, and then we do something stupid because we are angry and frustrated. Then we blame employment law for penalising our behaviour.
There are always going to be some kind of laws, from parking to employment, that restrict what we can do. The sensible thing to do is to learn the skills and behaviour that get you what you want.
If you are feeling that moment of frustration about someone who works for you, it might be a good time to sit down and have a cup of coffee with me (we do remote coffee, as well as in person) and figure out a strategy to get what you want that avoids dinging your business or getting yourself into trouble with the law.
And if you happen to be able to teach me how to reverse park that would be a real bonus!
Annabel Kaye is Managing Director of Irenicon Ltd, a specialist employment law consultancy. Tel: 08452 303050 Fax: 08452 303060 Website : www.irenicon.co.uk. You can follow Annabel on twitter – http://twitter.com/AnnabelKaye