Monday, April 28, 2014

Interpersonal Skills Can Bring You Money

If you had good interpersonal skills, you'd be home now
Where can you find a job that will pay you big money to quit?

Sounds like an impossible dream, to pick up close to half a million dollars just for leaving a job after less than a year toiling behind a desk.

But if you have good interpersonal skills, it could happen to you.

It happened to Illinois State University President....that would be former President...Timothy Flanagan.

The school spent tens of thousands of dollars on consultants to help them find a new president when the old one stepped down after a long tenure. Following a nationwide search for the perfect candidate, it came down to four possible choices, each one selected for their set of certain key talents, including strong interpersonal skills.

The school settled on Timothy Flanagan, and before long the committee was sorry that it had not consulted the faculty as well. Mr. Flanagan, despite his interpersonal skills, just wasn't an ISU people person.

Alumni didn't like his attitude about sports, which is everything to that segment of the alumni population that stays in contact with their alma mater. You see them out there tailgating at football games and sitting in the stands during basketball games, supporting the old school and donating money so that a new generation can fall in love with ISU as well. When the school's new president doesn't show up for games, or worse yet, leaves early, his interpersonal skills are thought to be lacking. If the donating alums aren't donating because of the president, the Board of Trustees sits up very tall and takes full notice.

The faculty didn't like the way Mr. Flanagan conducted school business, whether it was not having enough meetings or not responding promptly to their e-mails. The long knives came out, and you can imagine how much pressure Mr. Flanagan was under to cave in to the meddling faculty while he struggled to gain the upper hand and mold the school in his image.

Unrelenting pressure, constant criticism, and what man wouldn't snap? Snap he did, putting those strong interpersonal skills on display one fine morning when the grounds crew came by to rake up the plugs left behind after they had aerated the president's lawn. Those plugs bear a remarkable visual resemblance to duck droppings, and who wants to look at that first thing in the morning? Maybe Mr. Flanagan thought it was done on purpose to aggravate him, considering all the whining from the faculty and the alumni.

He took out his frustration on the head groundskeeper, going so far as to fire the man. Again, those strong interpersonal skills in action, but it wasn't the sort of action that the school was looking for when they hired Mr. Flanagan.

Mr. Flanagan has agreed to go after seven months on the job, with a lovely parting gift of $480,000 and change.

The university is looking for a new president. Who wouldn't want to sign up for that position, given the precedent that's been set? Polish up your set of interpersonal skills and get your resume in. A big bonus could be in your future, just in time for Christmas.

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