Typically, we quickly tell them why we did what we did. We try to justify our actions.
And if they don’t seem to sympathise when we tell them why, we get upset with them. And so the situation often goes from bad to worse.
So that doesn’t work.
Instead I recommend this approach…
Take Four Steps
|First…||Ask yourself, “How do I want my relationship to be with this peeved person?”|
|Next…||Think about the impact you had on them…
Jump into their shoes. Carefully consider the impact your actions had on them.
|Then…||Put your need to justify your actions in your back pocket.
The peeved person doesn’t care about your reasoning when they’re in pain.
They don’t care that you’re not feeling understood.
So skip justifying what you did.
|And finally…||Apologise for the impact that your actions had on them.|
And that’s it—no more, no less, just these four steps.
No describing why you did what you did. No justifying anything at all.
Only apologise for the impact your actions had on them, for example…
“I’m sorry that the lateness of my report meant that you couldn’t include critical information in your presentation—and that had you feeling like you were behind the eight-ball. My apologies.”
“I can see that my comments in this morning’s meeting created some awkwardness for you. I sincerely apologise.”
Will This Be Easy Or Difficult For You?
For some leaders my recommended four steps are easy.
And for others they’re hard work. To be frank, that’s mainly because their alert ego steps in and drives them to self-protection.
Ironically, what the ego thinks is “self-protective” is actually self-destructive.
Defensively justifying your actions won’t create your targeted relationship with the peeved person
—so you’ll need to manage your ego.
Your Call To Action
Next time someone’s peeved with you, will you (at least temporarily) forget about your needs—and instead, attend to your peeved person’s reality by using the four steps.
It’ll put you and your relationship with them in a much-improved place.
Give me a yell if you want support with these sorts of situations.
There’s not a day goes by when I don’t hear your voice in the back of my head,
picking up on an opportunity to use the skills we worked on during my coaching.”
— Infrastructure & Operations Manager, Manufacturing Company
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Carolyn Stevens has worked with leaders for more than 25-years—hundreds of them.
She’s supported leader after leader (including those who previously struggled to confront the difficult, let alone persuasively deal with the it) flourish—and become confident, courageous and impressively influential.
Carolyn is authentic and results-oriented. She draws on an eclectic array of approaches, tools and techniques to suit the situation.