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Not Everyone Is Going to Listen to You

Not Everyone Is Going to Listen to You

Today you have had the most brilliant of ideas that is going to cut costs dramatically for your company, increase productivity for your team and make the world around you a much better place to be in.

And today, no one is going to listen to you.

Think of the last time that you had this great, incredible, amazing idea and you invested a significant amount of effort to setup a meeting, prepare a presentation, practiced your pitch, etc, etc, only to have it fall on deaf ears because no one wanted to listen to it.

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This isn’t about how you could have crafted your pitch better, this is about how, in that moment of solemness and dejection, you need to pick yourself up and learn to be okay with the fact that not everyone is going to want to listen to you and move forward.

They aren’t Ready

First and foremost, it’s not that people don’t want to listen to you, it’s that they are not ready to listen to you.  When someone wants to listen to you, they are prepared for something new coming their way, they are leaning forward with interest and desire in what ideas you have and are generally seeking your thoughts and guidance.  When someone is not ready, they haven’t prepared, they might not understand the problem and the need for something different and they might be a part of the need for change.  All these factors (and more) push people into a position of not being ready to receive your ideas and coming into the conversation as skeptics to your ideas, when you really needed them to be cheerleaders and converts.

Change is a very hard thing for some people and where you might be someone who is prepared to implement and adopt change at a moment’s notice, not everyone is like you.  So take some time, breathe and figure out a way to turn them from not wanting to listen to you, to making them ready and eager to listen to you.

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You Missed Something

In every group, there is a Nitpicker.  The person who analyzes every detail and pokes holes where things could go wrong – whether they are valid or not.  Their true purpose is to sew decent and confusion among those at the table that this new idea is not ready – you didn’t do your homework, you didn’t come to the table prepared, you didn’t look at all the scenarios.  They put all the effort for following up next onto you.

They are hoping you will give up.

But you can’t and won’t, because even in your zest to bring about this new idea you might have missed a few crucial details but they have missed the bigger picture of what could be accomplished when the details are ironed out.  You forgot something, you’re human, it doesn’t mean your idea doesn’t have merit, it means it needs polish, it means it needs refinement, it means it has value.

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The Wrong Crowd

You hear this a lot – “it’s not for you, it’s for them” – and it’s true, it’s true in everything you will do.  You will come up with great ideas, you will have innovative solutions to complex problems and you WILL break the mold – but it will not be for everyone.  Where you start with your idea and who you first show it to, does not necessarily mean that these will be the consumers of this work.  It means that they are the first ones to hear about it from you.  Think back to when you had a great idea to do something and everyone shunned it, but then a few months later you took the same idea, presented it and everyone loved it.  What changed?  The crowd – either those people changed and realized it’s benefit or it was a whole new set of people.  Whichever crowd it was that now loves your idea and didn’t in the beginning, it simply means that it wasn’t for them, but for the people that you are now with.

So what’s the lesson?  Not everyone is going to listen to you.  And that is okay.

Just because you are feeling dejected, solemn, down, beaten it doesn’t mean you should pack up, give up and go home.  It DOES mean that you need to take a step back and look at whether the people were presenting to were ready for your idea, are those even the right people or are you talking to the wrong crowd and maybe you need to iron out a few of the remaining details to keep the nitpicker at bay and turn from skeptics to converts.

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These are the hard times, where the focused are separated from the flimsy – picking themselves up, dusting themselves off, re-tooling their ideas and suggestions and pushing forward to make an impact.  And we need you, we need you to keep pushing the envelope and suggesting new ways of doing things, raising the bar and pushing the edges.

So please, don’t give up, get up and get back into it.Don’t stop being a change agent – New ideas will always get knocked down, it’s up to you how long to keep banging your head against the wall or leave

Featured photo credit: VIKTOR HANACEK via picjumbo.com

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Greg Thomas

Software Architect

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Last Updated on March 29, 2021

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

When I left university I took a job immediately, I had been lucky as I had spent a year earning almost nothing as an intern so I was offered a role. On my first day I found that I had not been allocated a desk, there was no one to greet me so I was left for some hours ignored. I happened to snipe about this to another employee at the coffee machine two things happened. The first was that the person I had complained to was my new manager’s wife, and the second was, in his own words, ‘that he would come down on me like a ton of bricks if I crossed him…’

What a great start to a job! I had moved to a new city, and had been at work for less than a morning when I had my first run in with the first style of bad manager. I didn’t stay long enough to find out what Mr Agressive would do next. Bad managers are a major issue. Research from Approved Index shows that more than four in ten employees (42%) state that they have previously quit a job because of a bad manager.

The Dream Type Of Manager

My best manager was a total opposite. A man who had been the head of the UK tax system and was working his retirement running a company I was a very junior and green employee for. I made a stupid mistake, one which cost a lot of time and money and I felt I was going to be sacked without doubt.

I was nervous, beating myself up about what I had done, what would happen. At the end of the day I was called to his office, he had made me wait and I had spent that day talking to other employees, trying to understand where I had gone wrong. It had been a simple mistyped line of code which sent a massive print job out totally wrong. I learn how I should have done it and I fretted.

My boss asked me to step into his office, he asked me to sit down. “Do you know what you did?” I babbled, yes, I had been stupid, I had not double-checked or asked for advice when I was doing something I had not really understood. It was totally my fault. He paused. “Will you do that again?” Of course I told him I would not, I would always double check, ask for help and not try to be so clever when I was not!

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“Okay…”

That was it. I paused and asked, should I clear my desk. He smiled. “You have learnt a valuable lesson, I can be sure that you will never make a mistake like that again. Why would I want to get rid of an employee who knows that?”

I stayed with that company for many years, the way I was treated was a real object lesson in good management. Sadly, far too many poor managers exist out there.

The Complete Catalogue of Bad Managers

The Bully

My first boss fitted into the classic bully class. This is so often the ‘old school’ management by power style. I encountered this style again in the retail sector where one manager felt the only way to get the best from staff was to bawl and yell.

However, like so many bullies you will often find that this can be someone who either knows no better or is under stress and they are themselves running scared of the situation they have found themselves in.

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The Invisible Boss

This can either present itself as management from afar (usually the golf course or ‘important meetings) or just a boss who is too busy being important to deal with their staff.

It can feel refreshing as you will often have almost total freedom with your manager taking little or no interest in your activities, however you will soon find that you also lack the support that a good manager will provide. Without direction you may feel you are doing well just to find that you are not delivering against expectations you were not told about and suddenly it is all your fault.

The Micro Manager

The frustration of having a manager who feels the need to be involved in everything you do. The polar opposite to the Invisible Boss you will feel that there is no trust in your work as they will want to meddle in everything you do.

Dealing with the micro-manager can be difficult. Often their management style comes from their own insecurity. You can try confronting them, tell them that you can do your job however in many cases this will not succeed and can in fact make things worse.

The Over Promoted Boss

The Over promoted boss categorises someone who has no idea. They have found themselves in a management position through service, family or some corporate mystery. They are people who are not only highly unqualified to be managers they will generally be unable to do even your job.

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You can find yourself persistently frustrated by the situation you are in, however it can seem impossible to get out without handing over your resignation.

The Credit Stealer

The credit stealer is the boss who will never publically acknowledge the work you do. You will put in the extra hours working on a project and you know that, in the ‘big meeting’ it will be your credit stealing boss who will take all of the credit!

Again it is demoralising, you see all of the credit for your labour being stolen and this can often lead to good employees looking for new careers.

3 Essential Ways to Work (Cope) with Bad Managers

Whatever type of bad boss you have there are certain things that you can do to ensure that you get the recognition and protection you require to not only remain sane but to also build your career.

1. Keep evidence

Whether it is incidents with the bully or examples of projects you have completed with the credit stealer you will always be well served to keep notes and supporting evidence for projects you are working on.

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Buy your own notebook and ensure that you are always making notes, it becomes a habit and a very useful one as you have a constant reminder as well as somewhere to explore ideas.

Importantly, if you do have to go to HR or stand-up for yourself you will have clear records! Also, don’t always trust that corporate servers or emails will always be available or not tampered with. Keep your own content.

2. Hold regular meetings

Ensure that you make time for regular meetings with your boss. This is especially useful for the over-promoted or the invisible boss to allow you to ‘manage upwards’. Take charge where you can to set your objectives and use these meetings to set clear objectives and document the status of your work.

3. Stand your ground, but be ready to jump…

Remember that you don’t have to put up with poor management. If you have issues you should face them with your boss, maybe they do not know that they are coming across in a bad way.

However, be ready to recognise if the situation is not going to change. If that is the case, keep your head down and get working on polishing your CV! If it isn’t working, there will be something better out there for you!

Good luck!

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