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The blinding anticipation

It’s going to happen today. Scott, or Jim, or Mindy, or Jessica, or someone at your office is going to want to have that discussion again.

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.

About Marcus Blankenship

Where other technical coaches focus on process or tools, I focus on the human aspects of your Programmer to Manager transition. I help you hire the right people, create the right culture, and setup the right process which achieves your goals. Managing your team isn't something you learned in college. In fact, my clients often tell me "I never prepared for this role, I always focused on doing the work". If you're ready to improve your leadership, process and team, find out how I can help you.

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