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His radical candor left me speechless.

My boss leaned over and quietly asked, “When’s the last time you threw a fit about something, Marcus?”

Taken back, I shook my head. “Wha..? Well, never. I never throw a fit. That’s what jerks like Shelly or Doug do with me. I’m better than that. I’m professional.”

“Marcus, that’s why they keep beating you. Time after time you’re on the losing end with them. They get promoted, you get called on the carpet. Could it be because you never throw a fit? Because you’re too nice?”

I stared at him. His radical candor had left me speechless.

He interrupted my silence. “I want you to throw a fit once a year. I’ll back you up, no matter what. You need to show them you have a backbone. They need to know you can go to war when necessary.

The right kind of fit

I’m not talking about a screaming, crying, three-year-old style fit. I’m talking about bringing some honest heat to your conversations. Learning the right way to escalate an issue to a superior, and come away as the winner. Learning how to push back firmly but professionally, for the sake of yourself, your team and your process.

It was hard, but with practice and my boss’s support, I got better at it. In time I learned to play defense AND offense, stopped getting pushed around and started winning for my team. Hoorah!

Go to the mattresses

Are you on the losing end of company politics with other departments, your customers or even your boss? Try throwing a fit.

You might be surprised at what happens. They certainly will be.


About Marcus Blankenship

Where other technical coaches focus on process or tools, I focus on the human aspects of your Programmer to Manager transition. I help you hire the right people, create the right culture, and setup the right process which achieves your goals. Managing your team isn't something you learned in college. In fact, my clients often tell me "I never prepared for this role, I always focused on doing the work". If you're ready to improve your leadership, process and team, find out how I can help you.

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