Management Tips

What does a donkey have to do with {managing} people anyway?

Expletive Alert! Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Here’s my inspiration for this post today. Right here. It is mandatory that you read it and it will take you less than a minute to do so. Now that you’ve read it isn’t that type of statement infuriatingly brilliant?

Note the error.

It’s awkward.

Are you an ASS, like me?

Maybe? Maybe not. No, definitely not. Why? Well you are you and you are not me. Now that we have that out of the way, let’s start with a list (everyone loves lists) about what ASS means to me.

  1. A donkey Equus africanus asinus (I have to honour the title, don’t I?)
  2. That part of your anatomy between your lower back and upper legs (at the back folks).
  3. Someone who calls other people things like jerk.
  4. Someone who opposes EVERYTHING.
  5. Someone who doesn’t care about ANYTHING.

I don’t need to go on.

Here are some of my favourite assisms (in no particular order):

  1. Jack ass
  2. Ass Hat
  3. Ass Clown
  4. Pompous ass
  5. Kiss ass

Or just plain old ass – you know what. Imagine a vortex spinning endlessly toward nothing……

Before you go off or get all pissed off with me for talking about ass let me remind you that I AM talking about myself here. Yes, that’s right. It’s my time to shine.

Get ready for this!

Now, before I launch in.

We are supposed to be writing about leadership and management around here so why I am touting my ass-ness? Well, this has now evolved into to a bit of a story telling exercise and I have an indelible need to demonstrate how this ass-ness can affect what I do – Project and Team Management – in my industry – Architecture and Design.

The opinions (that’s all they are – not based on any form of fact) expressed here about myself are meant in an extremely tongue-in-cheek manner and are not to be taken seriously.

I’m just making sure, that you, the reader, implicitly understand that (disclaimer).

Can you tell my wife is away (ahem, not THAT, just no editing)? Look here if you are confused.

Every once in a while we need to be able to poke fun at ourselves so that we remember not take ourselves so DARN seriously.

There’s my Project Management slash Leadership lesson, tip or offering right there. Remember to not take yourself so seriously. People may actually like you more if you follow that simple suggestion.

DONE! Well, if I were i would be letting you off too easy.

What makes me such an ass and why am I such a good Project Manager?

Well, if I knew that I wouldn’t ask.

How about that I have a very strong personality, am strong willed and have strong convictions. Strong. Yup, that will do it. You really need that to wade through the world of Project Management but if left unfettered too long these traits tend to firmly plant me in the ASS category and very quickly, I might add.

Seeking the truth over all else is my crutch.

There is no ambiguity in my world and while a no bulls**t approach to life is a good thing the problem I have is that it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. Oh sure, I am open to all sides of an argument but who are you kidding? You know whose going to make the decisions here and you know whose right, don’t you?

There is no way anyone else is going to get to be right……unless I say so. Can you say dogmatic? Go ahead, say it, you know it’s true.

You betcha!

My desire to lead in most situations is a good thing but the other side of my personality; the ethereal, head in the clouds and ivory tower mentality gets me into trouble. Meditating on abstract ideas in the wonder of my own existence does not bear well on the realities of life. Isn’t that akin to someone saying “Get your head out of your ass?”

Have you ever heard that before? I have….. A LOT!

Now, with that attitude do I think I really have any friends?

Ah, who needs friends to be a good Project Manager right? Well, I suppose but if I have no friends my job isn’t going to be much fun, is it? I can be efficient, that’s for sure.

Having no friends isn’t going to hurt my ability to do a good job especially in a leadership position. You know; ivory tower and all that. But I really have to watch out not to seriously alienate people. The fact that I refuse to follow the crowd and am fiercely independent might make some people wonder if I am really part of the team. I just have to remember to give in once in a while. I know it’s tough but that way my people will see that it’s not all about me – all the time.

So, what have I learned from all this?

I know what I need to do.

The next time I find myself holding onto that bone I have to remind myself to LET IT GO! Someone else is going to be able to make that decision, right (nervous laughter)? I can just feel it even if I don’t want to believe it. I know the decision might not live up to my exacting standards but that’s ok because like me everyone else learns from their mistakes too. It’s a GOOD THING to let it go! Just like learning a new skill it gets easier and easier every day I let them practice it.

Until its instinct.

Reliability and integrity are an uphill battle, those boulders are pretty big and that hill is so very steep but I will persevere.

It’s a good thing that I am strong.

Tell me, how strong are you?

About this Author: Ralph Dopping (199 Posts)

A quirky sense-o-humour coupled with an indelible sense of stylish sarcasm makes it difficult to take the world too seriously doesn't it? My faves: fun, passion and hard work. I work here everyday:


I'll reference one of my favourite books, The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber, where he says (and I paraphrase here because I don't recall the exact quote): Don't try to manage people. People are unmanageable. Manage systems and processes, and create an environment that makes it more appealing to do something than to not do it.


That's not the exact quote, but I believe I captured the gist of it.


I believe it takes strength to stand by your convictions, admit when you're wrong, be open to others' suggestions, delegate and support people to make mistakes (but make a particular mistake only once and learn from it), transition from blue-sky visioning to tactical-practical application and to always, always treat others as you wish to be treated. Cheers! Kaarina P.S. I would never encourage someone to stop dreaming, BTW:)

rdopping moderator

 @KDillabough Why thank you for your input here. Loved it! I had a lot of fun writing this one and i suppose the point made it's way across. I wonder if people feel awkward responding to his type of post? Hmmmmm....well, anyway, thanks for being strong and reaching out. Appreciated.


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