Monday, May 14, 2012


Sadly, things between myself and my colleague have not gotten better. I spent time with him this weekend during our graduation ceremonies, and was disturbed to see that he spent most of that time using what he and I had talked about on Friday as background to suck up to the the shared colleague he badmouthed all Friday night.

Realization: he's doing the same thing to me on the few occasions he says he wants my input or conversation. I mean, acting "as if" he's my friend and shares my views, when what he really wants is to stroke my ego and get me to do something for him. Make me think he is my ally. Probably, then, he is badmouthing me to others, pretending he is in sympathy with them, when he is really just using all of us.

I know what he wants from this colleague, and if that person's ego is needy enough or self-focused enough, he'll probably get it.

And yet my original colleague seemed genuinely surprised when I complemented him Friday night about his management and leadership over the last decade--which was genuine on my part. He seemed shocked that anyone had noticed, complemented him out loud, or supported him. He didn't seem to know what to do with it--and one thing he did not do was return the complement.

Which should be some kind of signal for both of us, I think, that there is something intrinsically wrong in the way he handles his collegial business. If no one is complementing you, no one is noticing or celebrating your work, perhaps something needs to change. If you never notice, complement, or support your colleagues without an ulterior motive, perhaps something needs to change.

"Be the change you wish to see in the world," Gandhi said, and I agree. Starting now.

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