Don’t Make Assumptions, Make Decisions
Have you ever hesitated to make an important decision due to fear of what others might think or say about that decision? Did you put more weight in the potential of negative feedback than you did in the repercussions of a bad decision? If you’re anything like me this has happened far more than you’d like to admit!
One of the most frustrating things I’ve struggled with over the years are those times when my gut is telling me one thing, yet I ignore the data and move in the direction I perceive will cause me the least amount of negative social judgement. Unfortunately I am typically left regretting that choice.
I recently had a conversation with a friend of mine who was looking for advice. She was frustrated with her work situation due to decisions the owner of her company was making. She felt the decisions were hurting her ability to do her job effectively, and ultimately, impeding her career advancement. She was hesitant to approach her boss with her concerns because she really liked this person, and was afraid of how they might react or feel about her questions.
Looking at this situation objectively, the solution was pretty easy to me. She needed to determine if dealing with the frustration of inactivity from the owner was more tolerable than dealing with the results she’d face by not saying anything. Easy question and answer right? Nope, not so much, especially when you’re involved in the situation.
There have been times where I’ve had an employee who was not doing their job effectively, and something needed to be done. Instead of having a conversation with that individual to identify what the issue was, I simply hoped things would improve. As I look back, the main reason I did this was because I really liked the person and didn’t want to “make them mad” or I just didn’t want to deal with the stress of handling the situation.
The only difference between the two situations above was my direct involvement, or lack thereof. Regardless of my involvement, the correct solution is pretty clear. Address the situation. Chances are if you identify a problem and are feeling stress over whether you should say something or not, you can be sure the other person is feeling stress as well, and they probably aren’t saying anything because they don’t want to upset you.
The bottom line is: you are responsible for your own happiness and you need to make decisions accordingly. Putting off a challenging conversation or a difficult decision based on how someone else MIGHT feel will cause far more angst and stress for both parties. Without tension, nothing improves. Opening up dialogue will most likely help you identify the core of the problem so you can efficiently address it instead of continuously reacting to symptoms.
We don’t get “extra points” in life for enduring personal pain so that we can help others avoid pain. In fact, by doing this we ultimately create a worse situation for both parties.
Trying to judge how others will feel or react is a waste of time, since most of the time you’ll be wrong. If you truly like and care for someone, do them a favor. Drop the judgement and have an open conversation so you can work together to identify a solution. It’ll be far more productive and efficient, and chances are you’ll both walk away with a greater level of respect for each other.
Until next time … Enjoy each moment!