Let Your Objectives Drive

Published July 2nd, 2010 in Blog, Strategies and Hints

Welcome back! Thank you for the great interaction on Facebook regarding the post “Emotions Make Bad Drivers.” As always, your comments add a depth to the discussion that is refreshing and thought provoking.

We left the disgruntled employee plotting her “I’ll-Show-You” strategy after receiving critical feedback from her supervisor. (If you’ve not read the story, I encourage you to start here. )

Now it was my turn to pull up a chair.

Drawing on the wisdom of Zig Ziglar, who taught me to “fix people first, then fix problems,” I simply acknowledged the emotion of the scene. (I’ll admit this took some doing on my part. Her behavior was so irrational and vengeful, it was challenging to focus on or care how she was feeling.) Thankfully I found the words. “It hurts when feedback is critical or feels unfair.”

The rant stopped and at that moment she allowed the real emotion to come forward. Anger is a mask. If you can get behind the anger, you can find the honest emotion.

Her honest emotion was fear. As we talked more, I learned how afraid she really was. Afraid of losing her job, looking foolish, and even being “shut out” on the team. Now we were getting somewhere.

With the real emotion on the table, we were able to turn those fears into objectives. I asked her to imagine a more successful result and actions she could take to move closer to those goals.

It wasn’t a perfect process. Several times, she lost her focus and imagined the shortcomings of her boss instead. It was easier (at first) for her to describe the offense and to defend her position. Each time she turned in that direction, I asked another objective-based question.

  • Even so, what pieces of this do you influence?
  • What can you do to manage those perceptions?
  • How can you invite your boss to see you in a new way?
  • What is the brand you want to build?
  • How might you be contributing to the problem?

She made the turn. She left the session with a goal and a plan. She learned to let her objectives drive.

I hope you enjoyed the rest of the story, and I’d love to hear your thoughts. You are personally invited to join the discussion on Facebook.

Stayed tuned for the next blog installment. I’m going to share some secrets with you – “How Leaders(Unwittingly) Reward Low Accountability.” You may be surprised by what appears on this list of unintentional strategies.

Until then, remember you were designed for success and built to grow. Take honest emotions along for the ride, but let objectives drive.