Re: Takoma Village Has a Clean Commonhouse!
From: Kay Argyle (
Date: Fri, 30 Nov 2001 12:57:01 -0700 (MST)
My sympathies are with the guy who said I'm organizing this, we'll do it my
way, on my schedule.  We've got members who want flexibility but also want
to work with other people.  So the person in charge arranges their own
schedule around multiple work parties at other people's convenience.
Generally I've been willing to do it, for the sake of making people happy.
(Personally, I'd rather work by myself.)

I'm not feeling very accommodating today, after a clearing meeting that
included criticism about my supervisory skills.  (A couple of people also
said they appreciate my knowledge and my willingness to share it, but I tend
to discount praise -- oh, she's a nice person to say that -- and take
criticism very much to heart.  My problem, I know.)

My style is to make suggestions and to educate -- "You might do this job, if
you want"; "If you do it this way, it's easier on your back, or at least
that's my experience"; "Go ahead and cut the flower stalks, but don't cut
the daffodil leaves yet, because after it blooms, the leaves gather food for
the bulb so it can bloom again next year."  I feel uncomfortable "telling
people what to do."

Nonetheless, a few people evidently have been *hearing* (choosing to hear?)
"You're so stupid, I have to show you how to do everything."  After most
work parties I say, "Thank you, thank you, everyone who came, we got a lot
accomplished and it looks great."  After one work party, I said, "I wish
somebody had been more careful and not weed-whacked that carefully mulched
and labeled plant, because So-and-So planted it, and she feels really bad
now."  So people don't want to come to work parties, because I'm
"insulting."  (I've heard that word several times recently.)

That doesn't exactly inspire me to supervise more work parties, which I've
been doing not because I like it, but because if I don't, they complain
instead about things not getting accomplished.  It also doesn't inspire me
to do as one member keeps saying I need to, to "learn from others so they
feel good about learning from me."  I need better skills in people
management, yet people who hear "you" statements from my carefully phrased
"I" statements don't seem good candidates to teach me.  The people I see
have skills I want to learn, on the other hand, mostly seem happy to trade
lessons -- a guy on the workshop committee shows me some cool tools &
techniques for building a box for my raised garden bed, & asks me what would
be a good shrub for underneath the workshop window.

Well-organized work parties are a pleasure.  Things get accomplished,
efficiently and quickly, and you're through.  Prize somebody who has those
skills.  It's not easy.

Wasatch Commons
Salt Lake City, Utah
argyle [at]

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