Key To Failure Is Trying To Please Everyone

Quoting Bill Cosby (Actor and Comedian):

"I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody."

And that holds true in your workplace as well. You may be the manager of a team of people. There can be many situations where your team members have compelling and conflicting opinions say on resolving an issue. Which opinion are you going to accept? And what if some team members are going to look at you with crooked eyes if you reject their opinion?

Another situation is that you report to couple of seniors and they have different opinions on how and what you should be doing.

In a workplace, you cannot please everybody. The issue is "too" fundamental and your best bet would be to take into account what others say and add your opinion to that as well and draw the line of conclusion.

I remember couple of years ago a friend of mine wanted my opinion on what mail server software he should be installing in a certain organization. He said he was told by one party to install Postfix. And another party opposed and wanted Qmail instead. I said that I am not familiar with these but haven't found any problem with Sendmail. Furthermore, I told him that all these are good MTAs and each has it's own merits and demerits. I suggested him to do a small research and put his findings in a document. And then to compare/contrast and pick the one which he would feel more appropriate. The good thing was that he was quite happy with my answer and he himself went ahead with Qmail. Surely one party was disappointed. But you see that there was no single solution that could have pleased both parties. Of cause, I was neutral and external to the environment.

The recent Career Journal article "Learning to Work Together Even If You Don't Get Along" has some lines around this:

"The tendency to want everyone to like you can make working in an office difficult since it's rarely possible to make all interpersonal encounters smooth, says John Weaver, a Waukesha, Wis.-based psychologist who specializes in workplace issues."

And in another place, you see this:

"For a group project to succeed, for example, your co-workers don't necessarily have to all want to go out for after-work Bellinis together."

Food for thought. For the managers and the managed!