Get out of your way!

I’ve been struck lately by how we humans get in our own way. Obviously, if we realized what we were doing to ourselves, we’d stop. But we don’t, so we continue patterns and habits that sabotage our effectiveness. Lately I’ve been asking a simple question when people tell me about some situation where they are getting in their own way.

A participant in a feedback workshop said “Isn’t it better to give hints rather than speak directly about the problem? That’s what I do. It’s more polite, and I feel uncomfortable coming right out and saying what’s bothering me.”

I asked, “How’s that working for you?”

“Not very well. No one gets the hints. Then I get mad.”

A team member committed to tasks for a team goal, then didn’t complete them. She found that she was always “busy” when it was time for the team check-in call. “Once I missed that committement, I felt so embarrassed. I didn’t want to let the team down again, so I stopped coming to meetings.”

I asked, “How’s that working for you?”

“Not very well. Now the team is upset with me for disappearing.”

A co-worker asked questions agressively in a business meeting. When the other people in the meeting told him it was not a good time for that question, he loudly demanded an answer. When several people gave feedback that they perceived his questioning as hostile, he replied, “It’s just my style.”

I asked, “How’s that working for you?”

“Not very well. My questions aren’t answered, and everyone seems upset.”

Now if I could only ask myself that question at the right moment. 😉