One of the things I have dealt with in my life is an inner need for approval from others. This need resulted in my sometimes being not very quick on the uptake when someone was manipulating or harming me. Eventually, I became self-aware and could discern more easily when a person was acting against my interests or trying to unsettle me. Once I could see these situations, I then had to set boundaries. My need to please would again interfere and I would rationalize and create confusion for myself. What I was really doing was avoiding dealing with the situation.
I developed a tool to help me discern when boundaries were needed. I called it “What I Know”. It took off my rose-color glasses and helped me assess a person or situation in an intelligent way. When I encountered a problem, trouble or unease with a person or situation I would privately make a list of what I knew about the person or situation to date. Only facts were on the list – no excuses or rose-color perceptions. It worked terrifically for me from the start and still does. Some examples of what was on a list: the person had undercut me in a meeting; the person had tried to “bully” or intimidate me; the person had disregarded my input in a disparaging way; I had seen the person manipulate others. Once I made my list, I was able to put the pieces together, see the situation more clearly and take appropriate action.
The ability to keenly assess situations and people, particularly in your work, is essential to success. The “What I Know” tool perhaps can be of help to you too, as you navigate as a manager.
photo: digitalart, FreeDigitalPhotos.net