As a manager at Kodak, I was always looking for ways to personally improve, build my team, and help my people grow in their skills and accomplishments. If you’ve worked with me very much, you know that I can be the king of questions… it’s my preferred way to understand, to learn and to process so I can come up with ways of making “it”… whatever “it” is… better.
So… at one of my team meetings… one that I had stretched my team probably more than I should have by leading them through a high ropes course… but that’s another story… I got a big surprise that made me question myself more than ever before.
But… let me step back a little before I go any further. One of my people was this gruff, no nonsense, talk out of the side of your mouth guys that I thought I knew exactly where he stood. I could always depend on him to tell me what he thought when I asked questions… he was a scrapper… the one that would always get it done and was good at what he did… I thought I knew him really well and we had been recently working together quite a bit.
So here was the surprise… right in the middle of a personality profile exercise while we were sharing our deepest feelings… a stretch for me and this guy… he blurts our… “So that’s why I wanted to deck you!” I had been frustrating him so much with my questions, my personality and how I approached things… he wanted to hit me! Well… let’s be honest… right at that moment he did with his words! I was blown away. I didn’t realize how frustrating I could be to others… I didn’t mean to… it was because I was trying to be helpful. So… that day I realized the huge gap between self-perception and what others think and see.
I know, even though I try hard not to, I continue to frustrate, perplex, and even anger people without even knowing it. But… I know about it now, I am more aware of it, and as I grow older I’m hoping I am doing it less and less.