Mark’s Blog

Welcome to my series of blogs “52 blogs in 52 weeks with each blog being about one of my 52 types of people who are poorly behaved and at times downright difficult”. This blog is about Type 25: The Hogger. Enjoy.

#25: The Hogger: My lips are sealed.

Have you ever worked with someone who didn’t pass on information?

Have you ever worked with someone who didn’t share material things or their knowledge? Someone who didn’t help others out by telling them what they knew?

Now of course, people have a right to private information. We get it. But we’re talking here about people who don’t share things or information they really should be sharing. We’re talking about not sharing material things and information – things which would benefit other staff and, at least in the long run, benefit the organisation as a whole. And by keeping them to themselves they lower productivity and lower the quality of work, products and services.

Perhaps the information is in their head – like something they learned at a meeting, from their study or from a previous job. Perhaps the information is in a book or document. Or perhaps it’s a file on a computer, on the Internet or wherever. But it doesn’t really matter. What matters is: If they were considerate, helpful and what we might call a good team player, they’d share what they have and they’d share what they know.

People who don’t pass on information when they really should, are called Hoggers. Put simply, they hog information and don’t pass it on. And to illustrate how they operate and the damage they can cause, here’s a quick example.

An experienced teacher should be a great resource.

A new biology teacher steps up to the plate.

The Head Teacher of Science in a high school came to see me. She had a teacher on her staff who’d been teaching senior biology for many years. And by all accounts, were very good at it.

But this year they’d taken a break and another teacher had taken over the reins. The other teacher was well qualified, diligent and by all accounts a great teacher. They only thing was they hadn’t taught senior biology before.

The more experienced teacher knew the curriculum well. He knew what parts of the textbook were easy to follow and what parts needed the teacher to step in and provide help. He knew how to explain concepts so every student had the best chance of grasping them. And he knew what practical activities worked well and which ones needed a little tweaking.

In short, he really knew his stuff. And he should have been an incredible resource – not just for the less experienced teacher who’d taken over, but for other teachers as well. But we wouldn’t be hearing this story unless there was a problem. And here it is: he was a Hogger. He wasn’t the incredible resource he should’ve been.

The Hogger operates in three main ways.

The first way a Hogger operates is to simply not pass on information. It’s to just not let people know what they have or what they know. The second is to not pass on information when prompted to do so. And the third is to actively hide things and hide information.

And I’m sorry to say; the more experienced teacher was guilty of all three. The Head Teacher said the more experienced teacher didn’t make any offer of help at all – even though there were plenty of opportunities to do so and had been asked directly to help out.

And who suffers?

In our example, it’s initially the teacher. The teacher can end up doing a lot of extra work if they don’t get the help they deserve. And it takes them away from other work – perhaps work that’s even more important. They can get tired, frustrated and feel it’s all too hard. But then it’s the students. The students can really end up suffering. And if they don’t get the grades they probably should, then the focus is back on the teacher. Aarrrrrggghhhhhhhh!

So what can we do about The Hogger?

Start with the soft approach.

The Head Teacher, and no surprises here, needed to talk to the more experienced teacher and do it sooner rather than later. So I gave the Head Teacher one of my Personal Conversation Scripts to use. (I’m happy to talk to you about them if you’d like to give me a call.)

The first thing to do was to simply state the facts. She needed to say something like:

“Bill, you were the teacher of senior biology for a number of years. And you did a great job. Thank you. Suzie is now in the position and although she’s hard working, she needs your help.”

That’s it. Just straight down the line, boring old facts! But she now needs to tell Bill – or whatever his name is:

“It’d be great if could set aside some time to talk to Suzie and answer any questions she has and pass on a bit of your experience. I’d really appreciate it and I know Suzie would. Thanks Bill.”

It’s a soft approach. It’s polite and assertive. But it’s also diplomatic.

If necessary, up the ante.

But if the soft approach doesn’t do the trick, and they continue to hog information, you have to up the ante. There will be a time, unfortunately, when you actually have to tell someone exactly what you want them to do so there’ll be no misunderstanding. For example, you might need to say someone something like:

“Bill, you’ve got a lot of information. You’ve got lots of things of value to pass on to junior teachers. What I want you to do is this. I want you to make a time with Suzy and sit down with her and pass on some of your knowledge. I’ve asked Suzy to write down some questions, and I’d like you to answer those for her. And give her as much advice and information as you can. Sometimes she might need help with the actual material itself. Sometimes it might be something like how to do those practical activities, some of which are quite tricky. This is what I want you to do.”

Anyway, there’s more to it than that, of course. But that’s enough for here.

If you’d like to know more ….

If you’d like to know more about how to deal with The Hogger, or any other type of difficult person that I’ve thought of and documented, or one you’ve thought of yourself, please let’s have a chat. Go to the contact page of my website and please, there’s plenty of ways of getting in contact with me there.

Whatever you’re doing, look after yourselves and look after your friends and family. I hope to chat to you soon.

All the very best. See you later.

Mark.

Until next time, all the very best.

Mark.


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