Being in middle management guarantees you will be juggling countless expectations. It’s demanding to try and align personal, positional, and leadership team expectations. Equally important is to know when to keep them separate. As a result, you will often find yourself out of synch and sometimes second-guessing yourself.
You are realistic and know that some things don’t go as planned. But you begin to wonder how your intention/action gap can go askew.
Something as simple as a conversation can leave a different impression than intended. You may be deliberate with the details and the risks to the customer relationship. But your director thinks you were disrespectful to a colleague in the meeting. You give your director an overview to reconfirm what your intentions were and to dispel his impression. He accepts your explanation but doesn’t appear to be fully convinced.
You wonder how you could have been so misunderstood. Is it what you said or how you said it? Was it in the details? Did your colleague not like what she heard? Was it how you looked or what you wore? You pride yourself on keeping the customer and the business front and center, so how could someone misinterpret your actions?
Do you endlessly rerun the situation while driving or trying to sleep? Knowing what you do that skews things means you could correct it or prevent it from happening. Second-guessing can be self-induced or triggered by others’ reactions. Either way it is time that can be put to better use.
Managers have too much to do and not enough time to do it all. Managers need faster, better ways to sort through self-doubt or uncertainty. You spend less time with reruns if you invest time in gaining insight that will build your skills.
It’s time to turn critical thoughts into critical thinking. Stop the drain by investing 10–12 minutes in written reflection. Self-coach your way out of the situation by using written reflection that:
- reveals valuable information about how you handled yourself
- distinguishes perception from reality
- restores clear thinking quickly
- accelerates learning from experience
Second-guessing drains energy and confidence. What’s more valuable to you— spending time or investing time?
Take the following challenge. You will learn a fast, effective way to save time and energy and qualify to win a book.
Experiment using Replay?, a self-coaching tool, to reflect upon a time you second-guessed yourself. See whether 12 minutes invested could have saved you from those draining endless reruns.
This free tool is digitized, and if you send your completed Replay© to me, I will enter your name in a draw for a copy of Willful Blindness, by Margaret Heffernan.
The draw will take place Monday, April 4, 2011 @ noon.