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It's Not Personal

Michael F Lipp

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Here's the situation: You're working hard. You think you're doing good work. All of a sudden, apparently out of the blue, your boss jumps all over you for some fault that you either didn't do or you forgot about or that you consider picayune. . . or, at best, something silly. Your day is ruined. Your time in this job is ruined. You don't know how to respond. You want to quit (but you don't think you can). More so when you then swallow it all and it happens again and yet again.

I write this because it has just happened to someone close to me, someone I'm not coaching. But this is something I coach about, both the boss and the employee or the father and the son or the husband and the wife - individually

But how can you make it stop when you didn't see it coming and don't think you had anything to do with it at all? Particularly when the other person apparently has the power and “the threat" (which seems to make it worse. )

Isn't it easier to just quit? Is it worth it to ‘try?’ Have you ever thought about how to communicate with bosses, fathers, husbands, brothers, partners? Is it possible to communicate in such a way that the situation is diffused, that you are together in the situation? What is it that prevents your apology - not because you did anything, but because the other person desperately needs to hear it?

Here's what I suggest (let's assume it's your boss): First, get this mindset: It has nothing to do with you. Nothing! This is not personal. Now this is very hard to get, but it's crucial. Request a few minutes. Apologize - no matter how absurd that seems. And say, “I just want you to know I'm committed to your success. "

The boss may have a stomach ache, may have had a fight with his wife (or her husband), may have gotten chewed out by the next higher boss, or a million other things. And you were at the bottom of this chain. And bosses have as difficult time saying, “Joe, I'm sorry I mouthed off at you before" as you have, responding.

The trick is knowing it's not personal. Once you know that, you can stay sane and deal with it.

Michael Lipp coaches professionals to have great staffs and staffs to have great practices. He gives teleseminars (next one April 30) and gives e-courses on the Relationship Principles, The Laws That Have Them Work.
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