Mess Makers and Fixers

It became clear as I listened to the conversation around the table: there are two kinds of people in the world – the mess-makers and the mess-fixers.

Mess makers come in all shapes and sizes; their intentions may or may not be good.  Some know they are manipulative, but others don’t have a clue.   

  • A young parent demands the grandparents care for the baby regardless of their own plans.
  • A husband insists his spouse call his boss, claiming he is too sick to go to work.  When she left for work an hour later, he was laying on the couch playing video games.
  • The child has a tantrum in a busy store, demanding a new jacket.  The embarrassed parent eventually gives in.

Organizations have mess-makers too.

  • The employee who refuses to stay late, though his team is working on an important project with a deadline.
  • The person who doesn’t like a co-worker and undermines or disregards her opinions
  • Drama cultivators who have perpetual crises expecting someone to fix the problem and fix it NOW.

The “fixers” in these scenarios are the ones who step up and do what has to be done – babysit the children, make the call, buy the jacket, work late and manage crises.

Fixers have the skills to make things happen and get things done, often despite personal sacrifice on their part.  Fixers also often have a need to be surrounded by peace and harmony.

As you look at your organization, can you identify the mess-makers and fixers?  They’re there.

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