When you do something wrong, is the first thing you do say “I’m sorry” or is it to look around and see if anyone noticed?
I walked my son to his classroom this morning and he still had a few minutes to play before the morning bell. Some sixth graders were kicking a footy ball nearby and I hardly registered their presence. I was busy looking at one little boy’s loose tooth when the footy ball suddenly whacked me on the head. I looked up for an apology but all I found were two boys looking for their ball. Surely they had to notice that they hit me – hard.
Today, when my phone rang, and I saw Private Caller pop up on my caller ID, I knew who was calling – yet another telemarketer. Instead of listening to my gut and just letting it ring, I picked it up to ask to be put on their Do Not Call List. This time, when they heard me sigh after they asked if they were speaking to Mrs Steam-Burner (not my name) and as I prepared to launch my request, I was left with the dial tone. They had hung up on me. Nice.
I know many leaders that believe that you should maintain a healthy distance from your team. You know, not get too involved on that icky, uncomfortable “personal level.” Those same leaders believe that someone who is very expressive at work or “over shares” does not have what it takes to lead. Period. End of discussion. Every emotion is like a black mark on their employee’s permanent record.