So April … new intentions to add to the list.
- Be real and open, no more superficial persona
- Step up and be accountable, improve, do better
- Speak out against disrespect
I heard someone berate themselves recently. They were disappointment when during a difficult conversation they had said what they were thinking instead of thinking about what they were saying and the message they were intending to deliver.
The concern here was in regard to giving some constructive criticism and informing the other person that their behaviour was unhelpful and disrespectful in the workplace. My friend had started with explaining the behaviour in question and the impact on others, listened to the person’s reasoning and clarified the concerns that had been raised by other and relayed to the team leader. So far, so good!
The problem came about when my friend realised he was late for another appointment / meeting and had to cut the conversation short without a cohesive action plan or consensus confirmed. This is where things started to get a little side-tracked from the situation. Instead of saying something like .. “thanks for meeting with me to talk about the concern, I am aware that we do not have a solid plan about where we go from here, however I believe we have made a good start so lets finish out meeting now. So, just so we understand each other, you have agreed to ………. (fill in the blank) and I will ….. (fill in the blank). OK? I would like to meet again in, say four days to talk about how things are going. Let’s make it 4pm on Thursday. Do you agree?”
Instead it went something like this “..look we have talked this over at length and now I am late for another appointment (slightly exasperated tone). I don’t want to miss this appointment, it is personal it was difficult to get a convenient time in the first place and now this is the second time I have been late (now off topic and responding to thoughts and personal details ). So I have to go! I am telling you the first thing you need to do is apologise to the other person for your inappropriate comments (annoyed tone and ordering).” OK?
My friend (let’s call him Mark) moved his attention from the present situation and conversation to his personal need and next task on his agenda. He had an appointment at the dentist and he was going to be late. This allowed him to (unintentionally) disclose some personal details that were not relevant to the meeting or the person he was meeting with. The outcome was that Mark was now also annoyed with himself as well as the work colleague. Perhaps also the importance of the conversation was lost a little without a good finish.
Start with a good finish in mind as in the words of Eustachius ..
“He who has put a good finish to his undertaking is said to have placed a golden crown to the whole.”
Being real for me is not about telling others everything about our personal life, thoughts and experiences. For me, it is about staying on topic, keeping my focus and being ‘in the moment’. It is also about being aware of when it is appropriate to move on to another topic / task or end something unhelpful or irrelevant to holistic well-being.
Being real for me is also about learning from a mistake and maybe doing it differently (hopefully better) next time. Given that I may or may not get another chance with that specific person on that specific topic again, I can still be different (read, with improved awareness ) in a different scenario.
Being real means that we are not great every day and I believe awareness gives us the opportunity to improve, not berate ourselves.