Jessica was a pretty exceptional person. She had spent several years volunteering at various organizations, made straight A’s, and didn’t argue too much with her parents.
By the time she made it into her first major job, she had a pretty solid idea of what she wanted to do. She started the job, began working with her boss, but soon started to have issues.
Through Her Eyes
From Jessica’s perspective, working with her boss was a struggle. She started coming to every coaching conversation needing to rant about the latest thing her boss had said or done. She was a strong person, but mentioned that she occasionally went home and cried at the end of the day. She felt stressed out, undervalued, and didn’t think she would stay long at her “dream job.”
After spending a few coaching sessions exploring these interpersonal challenges, Jessica had a fascinating insight. Following a specific question, there was a long pause. Jessica slowly said “I think I just realize something… maybe I’m not as exceptional as I’ve always been told.”
Of course, her coach asked her to explain.
“Well, everything I’ve done has always come easily for me. And I’ve tended to do a lot of things that most people my age wouldn’t do. I volunteer and the people I work with always tell me how amazing it is that I’m giving up my time to do that. I tend to do pretty well in school and my teachers always said I was an exceptional student.
I think I’m just used to people thinking I’m exceptional.”
As the conversation continued, Jessica slowly shifted her perspective to realizing that her boss probably didn’t hate her. In fact, her boss was probably her biggest cheerleader.
The direct feedback, which Jessica interpreted as critical or condescending, was designed to help her improve.
The insight on things she didn’t know how to do wasn’t a judgment, it was an opportunity for her to expand her skill set.
The variable in this conversation, of course, is the boss. Did Jessica’s boss realize how Jessica was seeing her?
Do you know how your employees are viewing you?
What do you need to do to help your employees make this mindset shift?
How will let your employees know that you care for them this week?