My friend had a habit of quitting jobs when her boss became a pain in the rump. She had done this three times in the last five years. No, she never listens to me, just likes to complain. I’ve known her since grade school and so it didn’t matter that I have a PhD, lots of work experience, or that I write for the Examiner. She loves to remind me, she knew me back when….”
However, tonight I finally got her attention. Her boss, she complained, was driving her crazy. It was a Groundhog Day moment. I shook my head from side to side, and with a great big sigh said “Here we go again”.
“Look, Sylvia” she countered “I’ve just had bad luck with bosses. It happens.”
We ping ponged the conversation till I pleaded with her to listen to my coaching advice which I was giving for free. I even threw in a bonus gift; I would take her to the restaurant of her choice in a month to hear what happened.
That got her attention.
It took only moments to connect the dots between her boss’s, her husband’s (second marriage) and her now elderly father. They were all control freaks who, in her mind, were bullies who demanded allegiance to their dictates.
“They won’t change, I gave up on both husbands. I certainly gave up on my father and all I ever say to him is ‘Uhuh”. My boss, well she is as jerk and I hate to just salute her and tell her she is right”.
My friend is a strong, attractive woman who should know better, yet, when the rebel behavior pattern shows up it is seductive and she is becomes an addict. She refuses to consider the opposite of the rebel, a community builder. Her rebel behavior inevitably shoots her in the foot.
I gave her homework to read Chapter 3 in “Don’t Bring It to Work”.
Fast forward one month; we are at a super expensive French restaurant in Manhattan.
She took my advice and began to acknowledge her boss for good ideas and admitted it was amazing how many helpful ideas this “awful” boss actually had.
She also did the toughest thing a rebel must do; she kept the negatives to herself. Granted this was really hard to do, she did it anyway.
Just these two shifts led to that domino effect of change.
- She acknowledged the positives
- She kept her mouth shut about the negatives
Her boss then miraculously changed. She would acknowledge my friend’s great ideas and stop telling my friend how wrong she was.
Got the picture?
When we change it gives room for the other to change and viola, there is room for better discussions, better relating, better working together. Can we change others? You decide!