September 10, 2010

The Power of Emotional Detachment

When Ombuds are consulted by people targeted by a bully, Ombuds try to identify a range of options for responding. Oftentimes, the visitor may choose to cope with the situation by disengaging. Bob Sutton, the author of The No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn't, seems to agree that emotional detachment is an important job skill.

In an interview with Gretchen Rubin at the Happiness Project blog, Sutton said:
I am starting to learn the power of emotional detachment, especially when it comes to dealing with difficult people and situations. ... If you have a boss who is driving you crazy and can’t escape (at least for now), learning the fine art of not caring so much, of not letting it touch your soul, can be very soothing. The same goes for bosses who are stuck with people they can’t coach to being better people and better performers – and can’t get rid of it, at least for now. Detaching yourself emotionally from that person and instead focusing on the more constructive people that you lead can do wonders for both your team and your well-being. My efforts to improve this ability have helped me enormously. ... Indeed, I sometimes toy with writing a short book called “The Virtues of Not Giving a Shit.”
The full interview, "Be Yourself, But Keep Your Inner Jerk in Check," is definitely worth a read. Sutton's new book is Good Boss, Bad Boss: How to Be the Best... and Learn from the Worst. (The Happiness Project.)

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