Some of the most dangerous statements begin with the words, “All you have to do is . . . .”
This is the mark of a Good Idea Faerie. Their approach has a number of advantages:
- I get the responsibility off my shoulders and onto yours (sometimes referred to as “the monkey on your back,” or more crudely, “flipping a booger onto someone else.” If you’re disgusted–good.
- If you do it, I can take credit for it being my idea.
- If it doesn’t get done, I can say that I told you, but you wouldn’t listen.
- If it gets done, but fails, again I can say that I told you, but you wouldn’t listen.
Good Idea Faeries never lose.
There’s only one way to handle them. Respond with, “That’s a great idea!” as you take a notebook or smartphone out of your pocket and ask, “How long will it take you to do that? I’ve made a note of it for my calendar and will check with you periodically to see how you’re progressing. This will be great, and I can’t think of anyone better to make it happen. Thank you so much.” Look at your note, “How about I check back with you on [fill in the date].
At the first available opportunity, announce loudly to the rest of the group, “Hey, everybody! Let’s have a round of applause for [Insert Good Idea Faerie’s name here] who is going to [fill in their idea] and has committed to having it done by [insert date here].”
A word to the wise–don’t let them interrupt you while you’re doing this. If they try to, feign deafness, and just keep on talking.