- The person does the task without being asked (the ideal solution).
- The person doesn't do the task because they are unaware of the task and I can't bring myself to ask them to do it and so I do it instead when nobody is looking.
- The task doesn't get done because I haven't had time to do it and everybody else can plausibly deny knowledge of the task's existence.
Apparently, I am wrong about the fact that everybody resents being told what to do. Here's how I found out.
One of our regulars is applying for a job with a long interview process and mentioned that he would have to brush up on his Briggs/Myers. Being unfamiliar with the world of job interviews, I asked what this was.
He explained that it was a personality test and that you could do various knock-off versions for free online. I thought I could profitably waste 15 minutes of a quiet Tuesday afternoon, by having a quick go. I used this website to find out which of 16 personality types I had.
Now I've always been a bit sceptical about personality typing. It seems to me that there is a mood factor that accounts for a lot of behaviour that rigid personality typing systems cannot account for. The questions ask whether you would behave in a particular way in a particular circumstance and you answer: Always, Usually, Sometimes, Rarely. I answered Usually sometimes and Always rarely to 100 questions and found out my personality type was a Mediator.
You know what the thing about Mediators is? Their dominant characteristic in the workplace? Mediators make terrible managers. Because we assume that everybody is a capable individual in their own right who will resent being told what to do, we don't tell anybody what to do and as a result nothing gets done. Remind you of anyone?
With this information firmly in mind, I decided to act. The personality website sells ebooks for like $40 that will teach you how to master your defective personality and become what everybody wants to be: the boss of a big corporation. I wasn't about to spend $40 on an ebook and I'm not sure I want to be the boss of a big corporation. However, I thought I would try giving an order to a member of staff.
The very next afternoon, I asked a member of staff if she wouldn't mind mopping the floor behind the bar as it had become sticky from beer. The resentment in her eyes as she agreed was palpable. Maybe she is a Mediator as well?
(Let me know how your tests come out - I know you are all secretly desperate to have a go!)