A colleague of mine recently had a run-in with someone who was unhappy that her content had been cited in his publication without her direct consent. My colleague had followed all the rules, fully attributed the content to her, and even linked to her website. Yet, she was angry because “that content is how she makes a living.”
OK, fair enough. He will oblige. Problem is, she’ll never be cited again in the publication, and she’ll lose out on the free exposure to a very large group of people that is her target audience. She had to do nothing for free promotion … nothing … and yet, because she felt slighted in some way, she’ll miss out on awesome opportunities, such as driving traffic to her website and building brand recognition.
It’s a shame really.
It got me thinking about how often we get in our own way because we jump too fast or we become so caught up in the moment or our own emotions that we fail to see what is best for us in the long-term. How often have you seen:
- People blow up and go on the defensive after someone offers them feedback.
- Someone fail to meet a goal, and completely throw in the towel.
- Coworkers dig themselves deeper and deeper into a conflict because they just need to have the last word.
- Employees who are passed over for salary increases, promotions or special projects slack off and disengage, rather than continuing to give it their all.
Early in my management career, I found myself on the receiving end of someone’s knee-jerk reaction. I was challenged early and often by an older, more experienced team member who felt she deserved to take over the leadership role, when our former boss left the position. Her immediate reaction was to be pushy, question my every word and throw her weight around during meetings. I learned that she complained to other team members. She even went to my boss to complain about me (although he had my back). For a new leader, it was awful, super tense, and sometimes unbearable. But I worked through it, dealt with it, and I was still around long after she wasn’t. She hurt her career because she couldn’t get out of her own way.
I’ve gotten in my own way. I bet you have too. While I truly believe you shouldn’t be devoid of emotion, in leadership, you do need to control your emotions. So follow this sage advice:
- Don’t react. It’s hard, I know, but when you immediately react, you aren’t taking the time to consider the circumstances or the other person’s point of view. Listen, process what other people are saying, empathize with them, and gain some new perspective. If you need some time, ask for it, and come back to the conversation when cooler heads prevail.
- Stop resisting. Listen, I would never tell you to “Just sit there and take it” if someone is being abusive or tell you to give up when a fight is truly worth fighting. However, often, the things we are so determined to challenge or resist aren’t worth the battle. Accepting the things you cannot control and focusing on what you can is truly liberating.
- Just let it go. Lighten up. Chill out. Letting someone else’s attitude or issues ruin your day is just silly. Move on with your day. Put your energy into working toward your goals.
At least, that’s my two cents. What do you think? Share your feedback in the comments section, and if you want to read more on the subject, check out these articles:
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