Don’t Kill the Messenger
Immediate responses often inspire enthusiasm or trigger a sense of urgency
No secret here: How executives present themselves and the way they react determines the response from those with whom they interact. Almost instinctively, they can inspire enthusiasm and pride or trigger a sense of urgency. But when they provoke an unwarranted sense of guilt or blame by unchecked emotional responses, they fail themselves and weaken their enterprise. I’ve faced this with a few of the clients I’ve served and, I’ve faced it myself.
Kill the messenger! Think of it; when we’re confronted with unexpected negative results, if undisciplined, our vocal reaction reflects our concern. We bristle and then we drill—”How could this happen,” “Didn’t anyone see this coming?” “Why didn’t someone tell me sooner?” The “messenger” may bear some of the responsibility but not all and likely doesn’t have answers to our open ended questions. But he or she has the “honor” of experiencing our first reaction.
Left unchecked, such negative patterns of response have consequences. Cup half full: Most folks I’ve met along the way know to tell the truth but some had to adapt to their environment by parsing it out instead of serving it up on a platter. Cup half empty: I’ve also known a few who “dripped” the truth in the interest of their own self-preservation. In both cases, the enterprise suffered.
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