You are inundated with information and issues that require quick responses. But how do you know you are connecting the right dots to draw your conclusions? We tend toward mental shortcuts rather than critically thinking, especially when time is of the essence. These shortcuts can sometimes lead to assumptions and inferences that are inaccurate or illogical. One solution: challenge your stories and reframe your thinking to make better decisions.
We’ve all been here: Your employee has not responded to your emails, calls or text messages about an urgent matter. Your frustration is growing. What the heck?! What is the story you tell yourself? “She clearly doesn’t understand how things are supposed to work around here…Why doesn’t she have her head in the game…She is trying to make me look bad…Man, she is a terrible employee!”
When you find yourself going down a similar rabbit hole, take a “TEA” break to challenge your stories and reframe your thinking.
Is your story TRUE?
Are you EXAGGERATING the problem?
Is there ANOTHER WAY to look at the situation?
The authors who wrote one of my favorite books, Crucial Accountability, suggest asking yourself: “Why would a reasonable, rational person do this?” So indeed, why would a reasonable, rational employee not respond to you about an urgent matter? What if she is dealing with a personal emergency or had an accident on the commute to work? Maybe she is already investigating the issue in order to have more information to provide to you and just hasn’t gotten around to responding. Perhaps her iPhone died or she left it in “silent” mode and she just hasn’t noticed all of your missed calls. (Been there, done that!)
Why it Works
When you take a TEA break, you give the rational-thinking part of your brain a chance to get back on line. Recognize that the story you are telling yourself is only one possibility (and that your story may be entirely false and triggering a strong emotion in you). Reframe your thinking from a more objective state of mind. Then choose to respond more calmly and rationally when you finally talk with your employee. “I was surprised that I didn’t hear from you more quickly when I informed you about our urgent issue. What happened on your end?”
The point is that when you challenge your stories and reframe your thinking, you will likely reach a more rational conclusion and respond in a more productive way. It’s TEA Time! Contact me if you’d like to hear more about TEA Time!