When I first started working, at 18, when I co-ran a youth non-governmental, not for profit organisation, I was known for my foul temper and moody behaviour. I had no problem releasing my wrath on inefficient staff and unreliable suppliers.

As I got older, and started working in a bigger company I realised that maybe my moods and temper were not allowing people to be as productive as they could be. I still struggled with mediocre work and frankly unthought through plans and generally what I considered below standard work. But I learnt to keep the moods in check. Of course if you’re naturally so inclined it is hard to completely switch and occasionally the moods and temper would surface.

I think it did give me the reputation of a no nonsense type of person, and for those who didn’t know me said I seemed scary and aloof. Of course I was shocked by this and in fact hurt at times (when it was within my own team) because I’d worked hard to be more understanding and supportive to my junior colleagues.

So you can imagine my frustration when the other day I was told that a client was scared of me, almost to the point of accusing me of being a bully.

I guess my problem is that I’m passionate. Being passionate about creative and trying to protect against awful design and mediocre products sometimes makes it hard for me to accept below average, or even average, things. It’s one of the reasons I don’t like doing client work, because ultimately you do have to do what the client wants. And unfortunately in the case of this client, they felt we had crossed the client-agent relationship and we were ‘friends’ (this is the only assumption that makes sense to me), and asked my opinion on the products they’d made us change. It was a bizarre thing to me because it should have been obvious that I wouldn’t like it. Perhaps it was a trick question but I just couldn’t lie. I tried to be diplomatic about it, somehow it still didn’t work….

The next thing I knew I’m being called uncooperative, difficult and in short, a bully who scares our point person (of course I’m paraphrasing but that was how it felt).

I make no apologies for wanting to be the best of the best, the leading brand behind everything creative, and of high quality standards, but I do take exception to being called out like I am a tyrant who treats people like shit.

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