I had a recent situation where I asked a simple clarifying question and one of my employees came back with a snarky response. Something to the effect of ‘this is a waste of time and why are we even discussing it.’
As I sat back and thought about it, always starting at looking at myself, Steve (not his real name) was grumpy one day, aggressive with snarky remarks some days, and other days incredibly friendly such as joking with me saying ‘you are a handsome man, don’t let anyone tell you differently’.
So how do you deal with it?
For me, I stop and use “stop and reflect” – something I came up with for myself to stop myself from taking the response personally and look at it from their point of view such as taking into account they might be having a bad day, I might be over-sensitive today, or any other personality hiccups that might be in play.
This practice of “stop and reflect” has really helped me slow down and put things into perspective. As we know, we always want to show our staff we are in control of our emotions and that we are strong but not over-bearing. In the situation above, I let this staff member know why I was asking the clarifying questions so he understood why I was asking them (my set of lenses) and then I went over to see him and had a couple of laughs and it lightened the communication mood and things progressed in a positive way. It also helped reiterate what I have been sharing about healthy conflict and trust (from “The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team” by Patrick Lencioni).
A good quote I like:
“Peace is not absence of conflict, it is the ability to handle conflict by peaceful means”
Remember, you are the manager or leader, your staff looks to you for strength, direction, guidance, wisdom, and most importantly – example. Lead by example, it is a foundation for success.
Please leave any comments and successes you have had on the Comments section of this post – let others learn from you.