Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Surviving Poor Management 20: Too Much Passion Hurts

Work RelaxThis continues our series on how to survive poor management at work and grow

Sam developed a good characteristic for working in a company with poor management. He did not allow problems to bother him. His pleasing personality did not mean that he did not care or passionately want to improve service and productivity. He stayed focused on what truly mattered. He gained respect and a reputation for mediating tense situations. As a result, he received assignments to key project teams that developed strategy for the entire company.

Healthy Harmonious Passion

A well-balanced, or even-keeled, temperament helps you cope with poor management. The Harvard Business Review published an excellent article titled Why Your Passion for Work Could Ruin Your Career. In the article Scott Barry Kaufman describes two kinds of passion: harmonious or obsessive. He writes

“Those with harmonious passion engage in their work because it brings them intrinsic joy. They have a sense of control of their work, and their work is in harmony with their other activities in life. At the same time, they know when to disengage, and are better at turning off the work switch when they wish to enjoy other activities or when further engagement becomes too risky. As a result, their work doesn’t conflict with the other areas of their lives. When they are at the opera, for instance, or spending time with their children, they aren’t constantly thinking of work, and they don’t report feeling guilty that they aren’t working. ”

Obstacles of Obsessive Passion

Kaufman continues “In contrast, those with obsessive passion display higher levels of negative affect over time and display more maladaptive behaviors. They report higher levels of negative affect during and after activity engagement; they can hardly ever stop thinking about their work, and they get quite frustrated when they are prevented from working. They also persist when it’s risky to do so (just like a pathological gambler). A reason for this is that their work forms a very large part of their self-concept.”

Friday we share how staying focused on what matters most helps with poor management

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