You know, the same conversation you had yesterday. Or the same complaints. Or the same unrealistic ideas. Or the same goofy suggestion about something.
At that moment, you’ll wilt inside. Torn between not wanting to listen yet again, but also preserving their feelings and giving the impression you care, you’ll look for a way out.
You’ll check the time. Look at your phone. Or hurry off to an important meeting.
The excuse will be thin, but hopefully, they won’t see through it. It makes sense, right, because you’re a busy manager with lots to do.
Your private puppet show.
Your anticipation has blinded you. Instead of reacting to the person, you’re reacting to the expectation. It’s tough to beat, I know. My expectations about a situation often color my reaction far more than the content of the situation.
When this happens, I’m not connecting with reality. Instead, I’m reacting to my internal version of the situation. It’s like I’m having a puppet show in my mind, where I play all the parts.
Stop. Listen. Ask a single question.
When you find expectations drowning out the other person, try to stop, listen, and ask even one honest question.
When I can do that, I’m often pleasantly surprised! And so are they, because they immediately notice the difference.
Because while I hoped they always believed my thin excuses, they never did.
Now, go listen to your team.