If you’ve been in management for over 30 seconds, you have had the experience of a team member’s attitude absolutely driving you nuts. It just seems to you like this person is intentionally trying to push you over the cliff. Know what I mean? You believe you have tried to reach them. You know it’s not going anywhere and you are ready to scream.
In my first management experience, I had this guy that must have had a heart rate of 16 beats per minute. He moved so slow that I felt like I was watching a human locked in a time warp. He moved slow. He talked slow. He reacted slow. Well, you get the picture. He was slow.
At least he appeared slow to me. I like to move fast. I hate anything that slows me down. So my reaction to him was to coach him to speed up. I kept pushing and pushing for him to be more like me. If he wanted increased sales, he would have to speed up. In my view, his prospects were being put to sleep. I know I was!
But he just kept plodding away, never changing anything and just ignoring my well intentioned advice. Since I thought it was intentional, it wasn’t long before I decided he had an attitude problem and his lack of responsiveness was driving me nuts.
Yet he was still getting his numbers. So what was I supposed to do? Well, I began paying attention to how he was getting results and I began to learn something very important.
By going slower than me, he was actually a much better listener than most people, and certainly me. His prospects enjoyed talking to him because he didn’t interrupt them. He listened to them and spoke in the appropriate spots.
As I watched, I began to learn that everyone did not have to be like me. If I had enough sense to allow him to go at his speed, then all would be well. He would get his numbers.
Unable to change him, I changed my approach to him. When I thought I could offer a way to improve his results, I took more time. I had a better conversation. It was more two way instead of my way. As I learned how to communicate better with him, I realized that my opinion of him having an attitude had totally disappeared.
I had to admit the truth. Crap! He didn’t have the attitude problem. I did. I had to allow him the space he needed to be his best. Maybe you have had a similar experience. If so, share it with me in the comments or post on my Facebook page!