LeaderLynx – Topsy Turvy Crazy-Makers

by Jun 19, 2012

Do you have what Julia Cameron refers to as “crazymakers” in your family, church or workplace?  Yeah, you know who they are!  You had a mental picture of the person as soon as I mentioned the words ‘crazymaker’ didn’t you?

They are the people who act irrational – well, more than irrational – REALLY ridiculous – and are as unpredictable as a two-year-old capuchin with ADHD.  They make ‘mountains out of molehills’ (I abhor clichés!).  They exclaim ‘facts’ vigorously and convincingly – yet are completely incorrect.  Crazymakers will tell you the grass is lavender then tell you a minute later it is green and YOU are the one who implied it had a lavender tint.  (How foolish of you!)

The fact is most of us have crazymakers in our jungle.  Okay, truth is we consider ourselves to be the only normal person on the planet and the rest of the 7 billion folks occupying this globe floating in space are the ones who are crazy, aren’t they?  (Yeah, I thought so!)

The topsy-turvy effect crazymakers have on an organization will impact an entire department, division or organization.  They can also have a positive or profoundly negative effect on everything from the customer experience to NOI.

So, what do you do about them?  The easy option is to distance yourself from them.  Fire them.  Move away from them (yeah, we all have nutty neighbors).  Divorce them (is it possible to divorce an angry aunt?).

If you have crazymakers in your life and you choose (or are forced) to keep them around then you have to manage the relationship.  Here is one technique you can use:

Toe-to-Toe (TtT)  – This method is great if you have a crazymaker subordinate you lead but who still is an asset to the organization.  With TtT you confront the craziness head on.  Here some hints for success when using this technique:

  • Hint #1:  Confront them in private so they don’t have an audience – Crazymakers love, Love, LOVE an audience.  Don’t reinforce them with the elation of a stage.   And don’t believe them when they tell you they must have George from the office in Gastonia with them.  Go it toe-to-toe, no spectators allowed.
  • Hint #2:  Be sure you have a LOT of time available – Crazymakers are determined scallywags and have succeeded in the past by outlasting their rivals (read: wearing them down).  I’ve had these sessions last hours (yeah, hours.  ZZZzzzzzz).  You gotta have stamina!  Eat your Wheaties!
  • Hint #3: Stay sharp!  Crazymakers are masters of verbal manipulation (read: they can baffle the best with believable bull).  Call them out on their bedazzling attempts to bewilder.  Never give in!  Don’t be worn down!
  • Hint #4:  Stay on YOUR path during your expedition in craziness!  You see, crazymakers will try over and over and over again to get you off track.  Instead of discussing their misleading statements about the lavender grass they will slyly divert you into a repartee about who bought the grass seed, the different types of seed (“only an idiot would have bought that brand!”) and why the seed was planted at the wrong time of year.  It’s your job to keep the conversation on track and not allow your crazymaker to woo you with their wondrous wordplay!

The topsy-turvy environment created by charismatic crazymakers can affect everyone.  Confront them privately, don’t let them wear you down, don’t buy their bull and keep them on track.  If you follow these four steps you might just get your crazymaker to toe the line.

BUT WAIT, you may say!  …why don’t I just fire crazymakers?  Several reasons.  First, I like a challenge.  Second, some of them think so far out of the box that they sometimes concoct good ideas!  Third, and most importantly (at least for me), sometimes crazymakers are wildly entertaining to have around (who doesn’t like a freak sideshow at the office every once in a while?  It makes a humdrum day at the office a bit more exhilarating!).

Okay, now go take a crack at taming your crazymaker and email to let me know how it goes!  Have fun!  Go T-t-T.