Monday, April 15, 2013

Flavors of Wrong I

I don't know about you, but in my lifetime, I have been wrong just about every way that a person can be wrong. It seems that my vision is 20/20 when spotting les faux pas of others, but all too often I am completely myopic in this regard when it comes to myself. In this brief two-part series, I want to relate two recent anecdotes where folks missed their most blatant of mistakes. I term these the "flavors of wrong". I have fallen prey to very similar circumstances. Let me tell you the first story.

I was sitting in a group meeting at work the other day. It turned out to have a higher attendance than usual as my boss had invited some of the technical teams to attend. The occasion was to celebrate a successful review on a major project to which many had contributed. My boss had planned to start the meeting off with some mingling over coffee and assorted cookies, tarts, and cakes. However, his plans suffered a bit of a hiccup when the treats had not yet arrived at the start of the meeting. It turned out that my boss' wife, who also happens to be the manager of the project that we were acknowledging, was responsible for picking up the goodies. She ended up arriving about 20 minutes late and in a harried fashion set things out before breathlessly taking her seat. You could tell from her demeanor and expression that she was a bit frustrated and riled up with whatever had caused her delay. At that moment my boss, in an attempt at humor and light-hearted banter, told his wife to get up and start serving the food. When she gave him a curious look, he said, "What kind of project manager are you?" He then went on addressing the room in his usual manner, completely oblivious to how disrespectful his remarks were toward his wife. I looked over at her and could see her features harden and a hurt, defeated look washed over her. Multiple folks around the room just cringed at this very awkward exchange. Yet my boss was completely clueless on his flavor of wrong.

(Part 1 of 2)