I love the employees but I hate the individuals

This one took me years to figure because it is just so plain weird.

I used to regularly attend management meetings where we discussed benefits for employees and one member of the team has been persistently arguing in favour of increasing those benefits. Normally I would be very happy with this, after all the better the benefits the happier the people and the better they work. OK, we need to ensure we don’t overdo it so that people can’t leave if they want to, but that’s just a matter of assessing what the market does and not straying too far.

But whenever I heard this person talk in favour of increasing benefits, it always struck a sour note with me. A little voice would go off in the back of my head shouting “But you don’t like most of the people, in fact you seem to detest them, so why are you arguing for this?”.

For a long time I took a deeply suspicious view that this attitude was driven by self-interest. Maybe the benefits they supported were ones they wanted themselves. Or maybe they wanted it to be known that they supported these benefits and were trying to buy favour with the staff.

There are some managers who I’ve struggled to understand for so long because they have an internal separation I could never make myself. That separation is between employees and the individuals themselves. The love the employees but hate the individuals!

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