Why listen to me?

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Why? It’s simple really, I’ve made many mistakes.  So many, I couldn’t count them for you.  BUT I have learned from them.

How do you feel about the f word?  Have I got your attention?

The f word I am referring to is the word failure.  What did you think I was referring too?

Definition of Failure: to not meet expectations, to mess up, to disappoint, to fall short.

Lovely images hey?  However, You’ve done it, I’ve done it.  The common thread is that we all fail.  We all don’t like to fail but the wise ones learn that failure is a wonderful opportunity to learn.

I have an awesome example of a horrible situation I found my self in many years ago  … please  read on…

I was a young manager of a team of about 12.  We were all professionals and I was very proud of my team.  I believed we did very valuable work helping people.  One day I was in the ladies, when about 6 of my team walked in.  They did not know I was in the loo.  They began having a huge gossip session about me!

Lesson number 1: Don’t gossip.

Lesson number 2: If you are going to anyway, check who is in the loo before doing this.

I was sitting there with my heart breaking as they go on and on about how bossy I was, how they could not talk to me, how it was my way or the highway, that I thought I was better than everybody, how I was unapproachable.  Each sentence was another dagger to my heart.

So I sat there thinking what do I do?  Do I stay here and wait until they are finished then slink away?  Do I walk out and confront them?  Both options were sounding awful to me.  However, in that awful moment I realised that I had a very important choice to make.  I could face this “failure” or I could run away and hide.  Now anyone who knows me knows I am not one to run from a challenge.  But this was really hard!

I did not know how on earth these people that I worked so hard to support felt so negatively toward me.  I thought I was approachable, easy to talk to, helpful and I certainly did not think I was better than anyone, if anything else I struggled with self-esteem.

So, what did I do?  I got up walked out and faced them.  You should have seen their faces mid slander; it was priceless.  Each one of them had their mouth and eyes so wide.  There was complete silence; no one spoke a word.  I am sure they were waiting for me to just tell them off.

Then I simply said “Thank  you”.  Now this they were NOT expecting.   Think they’re mouths and eyes got even wider.  But the truth is I meant it.  As awful as it was to hear what I had heard them say about me.  I knew that something had to change.

I continued, “ I am so sorry that this is how I have come across to you.  This was never my intention and it changes today”. 

They still were not sure what to say to me, they tried to say a very uncomfortable sorry and left as soon as possible.  I then knew that I had to work out how to change things.  I was so confused as to how I could be seen so differently to how I thought I came across.

What i realised was, my impact did not match my intent.  When I thought I was helping, they thought I was being bossy.  When I was being proactive they saw me as thinking I was better and more capable than them.

This is one of the primary causes for poor communication, impact not matching intent.  It stems from us all having different communication styles.  I am quite a direct and proactive person.  When I think I am inspiring some people find me scary.  It is something I continually work on.  Especially with people who don’t know me well.

This awful, heart breaking experience was what motivated me to understand how I could get it so wrong.  So in a major way this experience lead me to where I am today, sharing this information with anyone who will listen so they don’t have to have such experiences.

This experience drove me to work out how different people communicate, it taught me many models of communication and the one I have persisted with is the DISC model that I share a lot about through these articles.

Things did change at work, gradually the weirdness disappeared and those relationships became very strong.  I think mostly because I kept my promise and things changed.  I am forever grateful to that experience as painful as it was it was am amazing lesson.  This lesson has blessed me many times over.

So next time you face a failure, be brave, look at what you can learn from it and keep moving forward.

Perhaps you tare wondering why your colleagues won’t approach you or work with you.  You may have even been told to get help. For support and training to learn more about your style and how to get the most out of your relationships visit www.teamology.com.au

Until next time, Care, Connect and be a Courageous Communicator.  Let’s change the world we live in one conversation at a time.





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