Give Your Team Permission to Call You Out
All of us have work habits that drive our co-workers crazy. Maybe you’re always five minutes late to a meeting. Perhaps it’s your incessant need to get things perfect before you get them published. Maybe you’re passive-aggressive in decision making, or you second-guess someone’s authority, or heck…maybe you tap your foot in the cubicle to the point that people want to snap it off at the ankle and hurl it out the window.
Any of those examples will lead to simmering conflict. And the point is not necessarily what we do, the point is that we know we’re prone to do them.
Here’s an example from my own work life: I know that I have the propensity to over-complicate things. In an effort to get a streamlined process, I introduce way too many steps and checks and balances until my team probably wants to…I don’t know…snap my foot off at the ankle and hurl it out the window.
So giving my team permission to call me out on the crazy-making is important, because I want them to know that I know that it’s an area of growth for me. And I want them to know that they have full authority to say, “Hey pal, that thing you do? You’re doing it right now. Knock it off.”
Such pre-planned callouts don’t increase conflict, they remove conflict. Because we’re already in full agreement that I do those things, and they’re being gracious enough to point out the blind spot in the moment, it eliminates the issue in me before it becomes an issue for them.
To avoid the callout doesn’t avoid conflict, it adds to the conflict. Because while I’m toiling away, happily making everything as complicated as I can, my teammates are cracking open a window so they have something to do with various limbs that they rip off of me in frustration.
How about you, leader? Are you aware of your work habits that drive your team up the wall? Name them. Ask your team to speak into them. Even better: invite them to point out things that you don’t even recognize about yourself. And beg them to call you out on it when they see it happening.