Opportunity Came to Visit
“You can preach a better sermon with your life than with your lips.” ~ Oliver Goldsmith
This lesson came in the form of dealing with someone who was yelling at me. He was not really yelling at me, he was yelling to me.
There I was on the phone with a colleague who was just really carrying on. Fortunately I did realize fairly quickly that he was not really upset with me. He was upset with a situation and I just happened to be the person he called about that situation. In fact a few minutes into his tirade he did slow down for a minute and say, “Truthfully I called you because you were the only one I thought I could call.”
Even though I realized he was not yelling at me, it was still difficult to be on the receiving end of his tirade. I found myself bouncing between feeling empathetic toward him (the situation he was yelling about was one I had faced too) and agitation (“If he wanted my help why was he taking this all out on me?”)
I listened as best as I could. It was clear that my colleague really needed to vent. It was also clear that he felt vulnerable and so along with venting he needed to remind me of his qualifications. He needed me to understand that although he was having an issue, he was a smart capable man.
Eventually I began to reach the end of my ability to withstand his barrage. I waited for him to catch his breath and I jumped in by redirecting him to some discussion of how we could work together to solve his problem. We began to discuss the solution. One or two times he started to backslide into his rant and each time I firmly brought him back to a discussion of the solution.
At first I thought perhaps I was being selfish, shouldn’t I listen until he had worn himself out? Then I realized that being supportive to him did not include wearing myself down. In fact if I had let him continue and allowed his negativity to influence my behavior, I would not have been much help to him at all.
Yes I will try to be a good listener when someone needs to vent. I also will not hesitate to step in and redirect that venting when I can no longer listen patiently and empathetically.
You and I do not need to be doormats in order to be sensitive to our co-workers needs.
Posted: September 24th, 2012 under Leadership, Personal Development, Professional development.
Tags: do what you say, pay attention to your actions, practice what you preach, walk the talk, walk your walk and talk your talk
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