Cracking the Code: The Recipe for a Perfect Work Relationship

Building Successful Work Relationships

Building Successful Work Relationships

There was a good joke doing the rounds recently. If you are the ‘sensitive type’ I suggest you look away now! I heard this from another guy – but women can easily reverse the punchline and tell the joke against men. Here goes….

Two guys are talking. First guy says:

What’s the recipe for a perfect marriage”?

“Eh, well, it’s really a recruitment issue, isn’t it?”

“What do you mean?’

“When you choose a great partner you have to look our for 5 things”

“I’m listening. What sort of things?”

“Firstly, you need to marry your soulmate. A close friend, someone you can share things with in absolute confidence”

“Ok, I buy it. What’s the 2nd thing?”

“Cooking. You need to hook up with a Nigella Lawson type. 3 meals a day, 40 years. Do the math. It’s a lot of kitchen time”.

“Absolutely. I can definitely relate to Nigella. What ‘s the 3rd thing?”

“Financial independence. You need someone who will not be overly dependent”.

“Hey, so far so good. You’re on a roll. What’s the 4th thing?”

“Sex. It’s critical. Irons out the wrinkles”.

“Ha ha. Very droll. So, what’s the 5th thing”?

“Well, this is the most important of all. Those 4 women should never be allowed to meet!”

Management Competence: The joke is funny precisely because it’s impossible to be good at everything. Yet, that’s often the artificial standard that organizational leaders are held to. When I talk to people who have problems in work, they often describe their manager as if s/he was some form of Attila the Hun. Usually when we drill down, there is some particular aspect of their style that my client doesn’t like. Their manager might be hopeless at giving feedback, lack ‘front of house’ skills or lose the plot when it comes to crunching numbers. Whatever. Yet, if we assume normal managerial skills, it’s completely unrealistic to think that your boss will be great at everything.

Lower Expectations: Someone once told me that the recipe for a happy marriage was to ‘lower your expectations’. Perhaps the same point applies to your work relationships. Be realistic. Focus on the 90% that’s working well, rather than the 10% that’s not. Don’t expect your manager to be brilliant at everything. Because they might just pick up on the unrealistic idea that 100% brilliance is the standard and start applying it to you! Get down off that Crucifix and start to accept your manager as he or she is, rather than the mythical boss that you want them to be.


Last Week: Lot of feedback on last week’s blog about finding the purpose in your life.  Mark Carter reminded me of a line in a U2 song “I can’t change the world, but I can change the world in me” which is very similar sentiment. Sean Dowling – the only midwife in our band – said that being a parent provides the core purpose in his life. To bring this alive, he sent on some of his daughters (Grace’s) questions: Can You knit Rollerskates? Is it boring being a shoe ? Is their a reflection in the mirror when you’re not looking?” Sean – that kid sounds highly intelligent. I think you should immediately get her DNA checked!

PS Woman Rescued From House After 20 Years Of Being Taken For Granted (courtesy of Kevin Griffin).

Gardai and charity workers have liberated a 44 year old woman from a house in Navan after being alerted to claims that she had been living there for over 20 years during which time she repeatedly had to cook, clean and iron with barely a word of thanks.

A 45 year old man, described by Gardai as ‘a miserable bastard’ was arrested at the scene. As Gardai continue their investigation, anti-grumpiness charities are calling for the public to be on the lookout for partners who fail to pull their weight around the house admitting that the symptoms can be difficult to spot, but they typically include sighing, eye-rolling, disappearing to the pub whenever the phrase ‘We need to talk’ is mentioned and watching repeats of Top Gear on Dave.

In Similar Vein (this one is actually a true story).  A recent article in the South Wales Echo reported that a man,

Christy Owen has sued Princess of Wales hospital, Bridgend saying that after his wife was treated there recently, she had lost all interest in sex. A hospital spokesman replied “Mrs. Owen was actually admitted in Ophthalmology – all we did was correct her eyesight…”

Check our website or call 087 2439019 for an informal discussion about executive or organization development.


About Tandem Consulting

Paul Mooney holds a Ph.D. and a Post-Graduate Diploma in Industrial Sociology from Trinity College, along with a National Diploma in Industrial Relations (NCI). He has a post-Graduate Diploma and a Masters in Coaching from UCD. Paul, a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, is widely recognised as an expert on organisation and individual change. He began his working life as a butcher in Dublin before moving into production management. He subsequently held a number of human resource positions in Ireland and Asia - with General Electric and Sterling Drug. Between 2007 and 2010, Paul held the position of President, National College of Ireland. Paul is currently Managing Partner of Tandem Consulting, a team of senior OD and change specialists. He has run consulting assignments in 20+ countries and is the author of 12 books. Areas of expertise include: • Organisational Development/Change & conflict resolution • Leadership Development/Executive Coaching • Human Resource Management/employee engagement
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One Response to Cracking the Code: The Recipe for a Perfect Work Relationship

  1. midwifesean says:

    I said to my wife recently, ‘ we’ve been married 14years and in all that time I haven’t been right once, have I ‘? And she said ’15 years ‘. I took her from the squalor she was living in. I guess there is always a gap between what we desire in our heads and the stark reality. You need a propagandist to paper over the cracks. How many ‘ great leaders ‘ of yesteryear left the office light on to appear to be always working. Human weakness, especially to pleasure is the universal distraction. Well that, and just plain laziness. They say we’re all guilty of the feeling that one day we’ll be found out. Seems to me that you won’t win awards for lower expectations. On the other hand if you plan to be in the game long term you risk running out of steam if you don’t slow the engine down. As a Midwife I have never been remembered for my clinical skills by the woman I have been caring for , but my kindness and humour. Which is the most important . One without the other is inadequate .

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