A few months ago, I was meeting with my team. This is a team of very dedicated and amazing individuals who somehow are able to keep up with me, and my drive for results.
On this occasion, the meeting was long and there was a lot to cover. They were tired, partly because of the meeting and the rest was the result of my continual pushing them to be better, achieve more, and produce results. At the end of the meeting, I said,
“I know I have been driving you hard, and you have risen to the occasion. I know you are tired, and have spent a lot of time on the road, so…”
What do you think they expected to hear next?
A. Thank you for the dedication…
B. Take a day off…
C. Make sure you are spending some time with your families, your life…
D. All of the above
Any of these would have worked, but that is not what came out of my mouth.
“So, make sure you don’t drive so fast when you come in the parking lot, it doesn’t look good and we got some complaints.”
First of all, whoever came up with the notion of sharing good news and bad news at the same time was crazy. When you share a positive remark followed by anything negative, what do people remember?
But more than mixing good news with bad, I missed it. As I talked to them afterwards, I realized that when they heard that first part, they thought I was sincerely acknowledging their sacrifice, their hard work, and their dedication. It created an expectation from them, and an opportunity for me, and I couldn’t see it.
What expectations are blindly hovering around you? Where is the opportunity to do something about it today?
You can recover from mistakes like this, but it takes time.
Even now, whenever I start to compliment the team, they jokingly say…“do you want us to slow down again?”