To recap, “Don” came in to talk to me about his project. But he walked in angry, saying he’s thinking of quitting, and I was caught off guard. I was dazed, but within a few minutes I regained my composure and was ready for the next stage of stepping into emotional pressure.
In any relationship there is a connection, which brings about interdependence and the need to negotiate. It is well known that the best thing one do to move a negotiation forward is to be very clear about values and needs, without being attached to a specific outcome.
And it’s this very question, “What do you want?” that I spend a lot of time helping my clients get clear on. Once they are clear, it becomes much easier to make decisions, and then for the other players involved to decide what is right for them.
In this situation with Don, it quickly became clear to me that I didn’t want to spend the next year dealing with somebody who was going to be angry, day in and day out. I distinctly remember thinking to myself “I don’t need this.” Yes it was early in our work together, but I had a sense that this would be a sign of things to come.
Furthermore I had a sense that he was seeking a dynamic in which he would be angry, he would be threatening to leave and I would be the one pursuing and placating. I wasn’t about to go there. Although this guy was talented and had lots of potential, this dynamic just wasn’t for me.
Thus I got in touch with a key value of how I lead: I work with people who want to be there, where the work and the environment is in alignment with them. I’ll put time and effort into finding that alignment but if it’s just not there, I won’t try to force it.
And it was this clarity that helped me move forward.
© 2007 Paul Konasewich