When I was a young girl, I dreamed of being a teacher, and so I became one. After 10 years of teaching, though, I wanted more, so I became an assistant principal. As an assistant principal, my next step would be to become a school principal.
That day never came.
My childhood dream ended up shattered because of a “bad” relationship with my “bad” boss.
Looking back, I can tell you the 6 ways in which I shattered my own dreams.
#1 I HELD TIGHT TO MY JUDGEMENTS
Even before I took on my 2nd role as an assistant principal, I already had a preconceived notion in my head of who my new boss would be. I believed the rumors, and then found evidence for them everyday that I worked for her.
>> Rumor was that she was bitch.
>> Rumor was that she treated her assistants with disdain.
>> Rumor was that she wasn’t respectful.
>> Rumor was that she used her Daddy’s influence to get ahead and out of trouble.
Instead of looking at any real truth behind the rumors, I internalized them and they became my truth. I judged my boss poorly from the moment I was transferred.
What if I had sought out the truth?
What if I had gotten curious?
#2 I DIDN’T KNOW HOW TO EFFECTIVELY COMMUNICATE
No one ever explicitly taught me how to communicate. No one ever taught me how to set boundaries and say no. No one ever taught me how to really LISTEN.
When I was stepped over, stepped on, and treated poorly, I didn’t know how to stick up for myself. Instead, I did one of three things. 1) I pretended I didn’t care, 2) I people-pleased my way through it, or 3) I raged like crazy inside my own head
I also didn’t know how to LISTEN, and when I mean listen, I don’t mean the words that people say. I didn’t know how to listen to what was lying underneath the words or behavior.
What if, instead, I had the tools and skills to stand up for myself with grace and kindness, and to listen with compassion and empathy?
#3 I FOCUSED ON THE NEGATIVE
There is a direct link between gratitude and joy.
I had no joy at work because I felt no gratitude. Instead, I focused solely on all the ways that my boss was wrong and did wrong. I complained and bitched and moaned.
What would have happened if I had practiced gratitude instead?
#4 I WAS VERY GOOD AT BEING RIGHTEOUS
This is a sticky one. Our EGO loves to be right. It is how we protect ourselves, and how we validate who we are as human beings.
When we are right, we feel right.
Unfortunately, when we are right, that usually means that someone else is wrong.
I made my boss wrong.
Without her saying or doing a thing, she was simply wrong, and that attitude and thinking destroyed our relationship.
What would have happened if we were both right?
#5 I WAITED FOR HER TO EXTEND THE OLIVE BRANCH
Our bad relationship was not a secret. To her, to me, or to the rest of our staff.
Not only did I blame her for the bad relationship, but I was waiting around for her to be the one to extend the olive branch first.
I was waiting for her to ask to collaborate.
I was waiting for her to apologize.
I was waiting for her to acknowledge that we did, in fact, have a problem.
What would have happened if I had been the leader I know myself to be, and lead our relationship in more positive direction?
#6 I PLAYED THE VICTIM
Throughout the almost 2 years that I worked for my not-so-great-boss I played the victim.
She was making my work-life miserable.
She was the reason that I quit.
What if I looked to myself as being the influential one, and focused on what I COULD DO instead of what I COULDN’T DO?
What about you? How are you being a co-creator in your conflict?