The people that drag you down and aren’t performing as you think they should can cause you to miss any real opportunity to move beyond a focus on “what’s wrong with them” and actually support them in improving.
It’s all too easy in these situations for a leader to get stuck in frustration, disappointment, and distress with others who don’t meet their expectations. These feelings, when left to churn and spin, can keep you from clearly seeing what you need to see – the possibility and potential in them.
Whether it’s a direct report whose performance is less than optimal, a team that’s weighed down in negativity, or a stakeholder who’s sabotaging the work of your organization, there is always the ability for you to influence change in the individuals and situation.
When you’re open to seeing past the problems that keep you stuck in your negative mindset, you can cultivate the fresh thinking required to begin forward, positive movement toward helping those whose behavior (or lack of it) keeps you awake at night.
Here are some questions to think about that can help you begin moving your mind and heart into possibility and potential:
What’s possible? You might be allowing your hijacked brain to carry you away with everything that’s wrong with that person or team. You may be blaming them for the problems they’ve caused. It’s time to take personal responsibility for what you can do. Start by noticing what’s good about them and ponder the possibility for you to guide them to their full potential.
What don’t I know or understand? There are always things we don’t know or understand about others. When you can grasp that you might be making up stories about why someone isn’t performing up to their potential, you open the door for helping them to become the best that they can be. If you can discover the real barriers that are keeping them from performing as they should, you just may be able to support them to improve.
How can I help? A conversation that focuses on supporting those who aren’t performing at their best may be in order. This kind of “discovery” conversation requires your willingness to ask questions and listen deeply. This dialog might be the catalyst to supporting resolution of the performance issues:
- What’s keeping you from working at your best?
- What will it take for this situation to improve?
- What can I do to support you?
- What possibilities can we create by resolving this?
Take these first steps. You may be surprised at how willing the other parties are to move ahead; and you just might sleep better at night as you help them to move into possibility and potential.