>pointless disappointments


Camp Disappointment Historic Marker
historic marker for Camp Disappointment
(photo by Jimmy Emerson)

That is not the sort of review you would like to see on TripAdvisor if you were the owner of a campsite. There are many places called “Disappointment” –  it must be hard for those who live in those places. “What’s it like where you live?” “You mean disappointing?” “I thought so”.

By a strange quirk of the Church of England, my most recent appointment meant that I was listed in the “resignations” rather than the “appointments” in our  mailing. I presumed that this was therefore a “dis-appointment” rather than an appointment! 
Fresnel, Cape Disappointment
old Fresnel lens from the Cape Disappointment Lighthouse by Grace Fell

I have been struck recently by the high expectations we have of one another, and that appointments can often lead to disappointments. Once we are a disappointment to someone we are always then seen through that lens of disappointment, and our own self-perception can be coloured by that as well. When it comes to disappointment, it is often the solo leaders who are disappointed, and those they appoint who are disappointing. Belbin points this out. According to him (Team Roles at Work (2003) p98),

  • A solo leader “plays unlimited role” (and interferes), whereas the team leader chooses to “limit role” (and delegates).
  • A solo leader “strives for conformity”, whereas a team leader “builds on diversity”.
  • A solo leader “collects acolytes”, whereas a team leader “seeks talent”.
  • A solo leader “directs subordinates”, whereas a team leader “develops colleagues”.
  • A solo leader “projects objectives”, whereas a team leader “creates mission”.
Life is hard in the land of Disappointment. The only escape is into a a different world of team leadership.
Talking of disappointments, I just love Nilsson’s “The Point” – a story about a round headed boy called Oblio, who lives in the Land of Point with his dog Arrow. Its moral – everything has a point, and nothing is pointless.