Man flu is the common ailment that many men have which has them thinking that the slight cold they have is the flu. 

It refers to the tendency that guys have to exaggerate symptoms and the reality that we generally have a lower pain threshold than women. 

Don’t argue guys, it’s true!

Whilst we joke about man flu, I often see the office equivalent that crosses gender lines and limits the effectiveness of far too many people and organisations.

Man flu in the office is when something goes relatively minor goes wrong.  It may be a disagreement, it may be a misplaced piece of mail, it may be a customer complaint, it doesn’t really matter.

People with this affliction start to exaggerate the problem, looking for people to blame and becoming distracted from doing great work.

It’s as if they are happy to have a problem to look at and admire rather than take advantage of the chance to make a difference.

Perhaps we’ve become used to comparing situations and the misguided way that we measure success is by who has the biggest dilemma. 

If your office suffers from man flu, here’s my prescription:

  • Don’t get stuck discussing problems, focus on solutions.
  • Make sure that the stories that you tell about your organisation focus on the good news, not the bad.
  • Don’t get too catastrophic about your problems.  Deal with them and move on.
  • Don’t get knocked out by things that go wrong, but use them to build your resilience.
  • Don’t get caught at the water-cooler with the complainers in your office, but find ways to interact more with those who have a positive perspective.

Together, let’s work to find a cure for Office Man Flu in 2011.

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