People struggle over decisions they know will affect others. Their concern for other people sounds important for building and maintaining relationships. Their anxiety, on the other hand, suggests they’re missing its source.
If they don’t know what causes their anxiety, they’ll miss the otherwise obvious solution.
For some reason, people in challenging situations often withdraw from others. Typical such situations include
- Figuring out how to tell a client news they don’t want to hear
- You’re going to finish late and someone depends on you
- You broke or lost something someone else values and needs
- You don’t know how to solve a problem
- Figuring out what restaurant or movie to go to with someone
- You can come up with plenty of situations
They’re anxious because they’ll have to tell people about how they did something that affects them without knowing their interests.
The obvious solution:
Involve them in the process.
I think these words all the time. I learned them from one of my company’s Board members. It’s great to have someone on your team experienced at understanding and resolving the most difficult situations.
Sometimes they convince themselves that having to make difficult decisions means they’re leaders and they believe leadership means loneliness, making them feel justified in withdrawing, sometimes even noble.
Sometimes, anticipating suboptimal choices, they feel ashamed of the outcome.
Sometimes they feel responsible for the situation and thus for resolving it themselves.
Sometimes they want to act fast, thinking involving others will slow the process, not anticipating how much their emotional systems slow the process when clear solutions don’t present themselves.
You can think of many reasons people shy away from sharing the problem.
Dwelling in problems keeps them finding solutions. Thinking about themselves keeps them from realizing how others can help.
Over and over I relearn the value and effectiveness of involving other people in the process.
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