“What’s the matter?”
Has anyone ever surprised you with that question? Has anyone ever asked you that when you didn’t even consciously think anything was the matter….but once confronted with the question you realized that something was kind of bothering you?
I believe humans are emotionally in tune with one another in ways that they do not fully appreciate or recognize.
Much of our individual lives are built around our routines. Think about that for a second. Do you go to lunch at the same time every day like me? Perhaps it’s an afternoon snack, a particular time you have your alarm set to wake you in the morning, maybe it’s a call to a family member on the drive home each day.
There’s probably any number of things you do routinely.
Have you ever thought about the effect that YOUR routine has on the routines of the people around you?
Take work for example. Have you ever thought to yourself….”oh shoot, Cheryl is off tomorrow” and realized that tomorrow is going to be different (maybe harder) than when Cheryl is working?
Of course you have. I think that’s a relatively universal experience. But why is that the case? I think it’s because our routines are predictable, have consequences, and are inter-connected in a way that we are not fully aware of on most days.
We know that any day that Cheryl is off is going to be a harder day because she is such an important piece of your organization. But maybe we are not fully aware that on those days when Cheryl is off we get to talk to Bob about our favorite TV show more thoroughly. Cheryl thinks TV is a waste of time….and that has an impact on the group communication dynamic. When Bob is off the office has a looser feel to it. Bob is a very serious man, not unpleasant, but very focused. Everyone either consciously or unconsciously acknowledges that by keeping the tone a little more serious. But Cheryl, on the other hand, has a laugh you can hear from one end of the office to the other.
So these characters are all made up, of course. But do the interconnected behavioral dynamics have a familiar ring to them? Are you thinking about how your co-workers, friends and family all have unique, predictable behaviors that have consequences for the people around them? I’ll bet you can think of quite a few right off the top of your head!
Now….put yourself under that same microscope.
What are YOUR predictable behaviors that have consequences for the people around you?
To be clear, I’m not talking about intentional behavior or a technique of some sort used by a leader to drive some result. That’s a manipulation….a legitimate and useful one, but a manipulation none the less. What I’m talking about is a function of personality and authenticity…..simply being yourself, your persona….and the impact it has on your group dynamic.
I’m reminded of the ripple effect you get by dropping a stone in still water. But instead of just the ripples from YOUR stone…there is a sea of ripples coming from many stones.
You ARE having an impact on the other humans in your environment. In my opinion, it is a serious impact whether you are consciously aware of it or not.
So…step #1 is recognizing the truth of this discovery. Step #2 is forming a judgment on what KIND of impact you are having. Step #3 is deciding whether that impact is the kind of impact you ASPIRE to have on the other humans around you.
If we’re honest it’s probably a mixed bag.
So hey….”What’s the matter?”
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