Thoughts about hr and management in the real world – extra information I couldn't fit in my books!.

Is this your biggest pitfall?

Every conference that we run at Elephant, I put so much into it that I’m pretty exhausted the following day and can’t do much useful work. I know this from the many conferences we’ve run, however what do I do? I keep booking meetings and complex work for the day after a conference!

I do this TIME and TIME again.

I then end up having to move meetings and get behind on work. It drives me crazy. Why do I keep repeating this?

Well unfortunately it’s one of the pitfalls that my personality style has (I’m a peacock, or an ‘I’ in DISC). Every personality type has some great strengths that you can bring to your role and your life, however there are also some challenges too. And these challenges can often cause problems and stress.

Another of these is running late. I read an article the other day about how people who are always late are actually more resilient and live longer. They are unrealistically optimistic, and often over estimate how much work they can get through and that causes them to be late, but they learn how to deal with the stress this causes and are more resilient! Being late is often a trait of a peacock and is a nice explanation for why it happens – but it still drives me crazy! And I get angry at myself.

The thing is that you have to accept that you can’t have the great things without the challenges. You need to stop beating yourself up about those things and accept that if you want the good stuff – the bad stuff comes too. And it’s not worth giving up the good stuff, to get rid of the bad (I mostly love what being a peacock makes me).

Some of these issues are allowable weaknesses. This is term from Belbin’s high performance teams. Each team role has strengths, and some allowable weaknesses. For example I’m a plant (someone who comes up with new ideas). One of the allowable weaknesses is that I will come up with ideas that won’t work and go off on tangents. However if you shut down any tangents I go off on, or ask me to not make any ideas that aren’t well thought out – I probably won’t come up with anything at all. To allow me to bring my strength of original ideas to the table, you have to allow the ideas that don’t work and the tangents.

This helps with accepting your pitfalls – but what about when your allowable weaknesses start becoming unallowable?

I’ve found a solution.

Force your own hand!

On the last Wednesday in March we ran our HR Business Partner Summit and then a day of Boot Camps. As usual I started thinking about what things I would book for Friday – but instead of falling into the same trap again – I booked for me and Fraser (my husband) to go out for a long lunch (it was actually our wedding anniversary too!). I knew that lunch was non-negotiable and would also stop me booking anything else. And it worked.

In terms of being late, I now double how much time I estimate something will take me and have a become a little more realistic about what I can and can’t fit in to a timeslot!

If you have a pitfall – you need to learn what it is, and how it affects you. And if has become non-allowable and telling yourself not to do it isn’t enough – then find a way to MAKE yourself minimise the pitfall. I once worked with someone who was an owl (very detailed focused) and knew she spent too much time going over and over something. So she would drink a big glass of water, and only work on the document until she had to go to the bathroom! Possibly not good on the bladder, but it was a way to force herself to stop working.

So what’s your biggest pitfall? And what ways have you found to force your own hand and minimise the negative impact they may have?



Angela Atkins is the best-selling author of the bites books (Management Bites, Employment Bites, Training Bites and Safety Bites). For more information about high performance teams click here. To get more articles from Angela and updates on what Elephant are doing just click here.




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This entry was posted on May 9, 2017 by in human resources, people management and tagged , , , .
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