Management Blog by Cinnie Noble
The expression “to have a bee in one’s bonnet” has a variety of meanings. One reported origin of this saying dates back to the early 16th century when Alexander Douglas wrote about someone being in bed with a head full of bees. “Going to bed with a head full of bees would seem to describe someone who can’t take his or her mind off something that he or she feels is important. It is speculated that the “bonnet” part of the phrase might have been derived from the large bonnet that a beekeeper wears. Hence, if a beekeeper were to have a bee in his or her bonnet, it would be very difficult for him or her to focus on anything else.”
What is it about getting a bee in the bonnet then, that leads to conflict? Though being totally focussed on an idea, view or thought does not always or necessarily lead to conflict, it can be challenging sometimes to be around someone who holds and repeats her or his position on a matter to the extent that there’s no room for alternative perspectives. There may even be a righteousness or rightness emanating from people who have bees in their bonnets that implies – directly or indirectly – that the other person is wrong. This is when being focused only on one viewpoint is off-putting for others and can lead to positional arguments.
If you tend to get a “bee in your bonnet” or become frustrated with others who do, the following set of questions might be helpful to consider.
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