Bob is a manager at a large financial call center. He is in charge of 100 employees, who are responsible for collections. Bob goes about his day, and weeks, problem-solving and motivating his employees. He feels he has created a good team and that his employees like and respect him. So imagine his surprise when he was called into his boss’s office and told that his employees felt he was overbearing and mad all the time. His boss told him that he would need to “change” or there could be further action taken. After the meeting, Bob was furious; he felt blindsided! He did not understand who would have said those statements or why when things were going so well.
Have you ever been in this type of situation? I’m sure we’ve all experienced a blindside, whether at work or in our personal relationships. This occurs due to getting into ourselves and our perceptions and expectations about situations. We get into routines as we go about our daily lives that we often forget to pay attention to our outside happenings. In the case of Bob, he lived in his own perception of how he wanted his team to function but, when he actually looked back, he realized that he was so busy focusing on the metrics and reports that he forgot about the people. It became apparent to him that he was short at times and that his tone of voice could put people off.
So how can you not wind up like Bob? It first starts with taking an assessment of yourself – your actions, thoughts, words, and body language all play a part in your communications with others. Pay more attention to how you communicate and put more effort on acknowledging other people. Listening is also a skill to be honed – use active listening, empathy and reflecting back what you heard to prevent any miscommunications and to let the other person know that you are truly engaged in the conversation. Lastly, work on showing appreciation for others – often things need to be said but when we do them in an appreciative manner, people will respond; saying thank you or acknowledging others accomplishments will have them singing your praises.
It’s not a good feeling to be blindsided – just ask Bob. But if you are, then it’s time to refocus on your actions, and not others, in order to change the situation. It can lead to increased admiration, loyalty and respect of others and can propel you to a higher level. As for Bob, once he worked on himself, he improved his relationship with his team so much that he got promoted to a Vice President at the company. Following these steps can help you to never get blindsided again!
Have you ever been blindsided and, if so, how did you handle it? Would love to hear your thoughts!