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The Careful Art of Handling
Clair Hanks Huxtable: So, I hear you’re gonna fix the tile… Dr. Heathcliff ‘Cliff’ Huxtable: That’s right… Clair Hanks Huxtable: You’re lookin’ mighty cute in that toolbelt… Dr. Heathcliff ‘Cliff’ Huxtable: [demurely] I’ve got it in suede too…
—"The Cosby Show: Waterworks (#4.18)" (1988)
As any manager of employees will tell you, there is a underlying narrative going on in the workplace that I affectionately call “handling.” Some people call it manipulative, but it’s really not that strong. What is “handling”? Handling is the ability to hold information for the right times, to effectively communicate what you want from someone how they want it. It may be as simple as playing to one’s guilt, or it might be as complicated as knowing the co-dependent dynamics of your boss’s bad marriage in order to slip in the casual observation that you forgot to turn in a report on time. The purpose of handling is to get what you want, the means to that end is your ability to communicate the right thing at the right time, to the right person’s needs at that given time.
However, it’s important to watch such Handling going on in the workplace, as you might find yourself being handled. Some days, it’s ok not to be the chief. It’s ok to let your assistant casually tell you that your expense check is two weeks late, right? Well, not always. I’m no expert on being an effective boss, but it’s important to remember that money talks: you see the black in the balance sheet BEFORE you spread the bad news about something else. Money = good in the corporate imagination, so it’s important to keep this theme alive in your narrative to get what you want.  
Being a good co-worker, employee, or manager is akin to all human relationships. How you treat people matters, for better or for worse. But at work, we still need to tow the line on what we want.  Click through to watch Clair Huxtable at her best. 

The Careful Art of Handling

Clair Hanks Huxtable: So, I hear you’re gonna fix the tile… 
Dr. Heathcliff ‘Cliff’ Huxtable: That’s right… 
Clair Hanks Huxtable: You’re lookin’ mighty cute in that toolbelt… 
Dr. Heathcliff ‘Cliff’ Huxtable: [demurely] I’ve got it in suede too…

"The Cosby Show: Waterworks (#4.18)" (1988)

As any manager of employees will tell you, there is a underlying narrative going on in the workplace that I affectionately call “handling.” Some people call it manipulative, but it’s really not that strong. What is “handling”? Handling is the ability to hold information for the right times, to effectively communicate what you want from someone how they want it. It may be as simple as playing to one’s guilt, or it might be as complicated as knowing the co-dependent dynamics of your boss’s bad marriage in order to slip in the casual observation that you forgot to turn in a report on time. The purpose of handling is to get what you want, the means to that end is your ability to communicate the right thing at the right time, to the right person’s needs at that given time.

However, it’s important to watch such Handling going on in the workplace, as you might find yourself being handled. Some days, it’s ok not to be the chief. It’s ok to let your assistant casually tell you that your expense check is two weeks late, right? Well, not always. I’m no expert on being an effective boss, but it’s important to remember that money talks: you see the black in the balance sheet BEFORE you spread the bad news about something else. Money = good in the corporate imagination, so it’s important to keep this theme alive in your narrative to get what you want.  

Being a good co-worker, employee, or manager is akin to all human relationships. How you treat people matters, for better or for worse. But at work, we still need to tow the line on what we want.  Click through to watch Clair Huxtable at her best. 

(Source: clairehuxtable)

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