I Shoo-ed My Boss

Sometimes I wear my character flaws on my sleeve. I blame most of my needy behavior (outbursts, interrupting people, interjecting when I need be silent, ugh) on the fact that I was the fifth child. True, I picked up pretty poor behaviors trying to assert myself, but I need to be real. I have had over twenty years to practice appropriate conversation skills. I should be a master of those flaws.

So, today (here comes the confession) I had to interject, and it was not a good thing. I had an opportunity to take the lead — and ruined my credibility by rudely shoo-ing a respected boss (big sigh, feel the shame). It is five hours later and I still feel like an idiot. Did I mention it was during a team building activity? Yep, I am an idiot.

I immediately reacted “I am allowed to make mistakes and make up for them,” and offered a quick, “I am so sorry, please forgive me.”

I want to speak with my boss and sincerely apologize for my rude tone, but I find that I am not sorry for asserting myself. I had taken the lead. I had a good idea. The boss felt the need to take attention from it. I chose to act like a five-year-old (yes, dumb — not an acceptable rhetorical move to build a team). I am probably going to think all night about how to fix my misbehavior (ruminating is a vice), but I refuse to be sorry that I wanted my voice heard.

The team building exercise surprised me in other significant ways. I learned that the people I work with are the makings of an effective team. When we all stood on a block of wood, balancing and supporting each other, and finished a chorus of “It’s a Small World”, we felt accomplished because we built on prior knowledge and cooperated. When we failed to do the same on a smaller block of wood, we reflected, adjusted, shared ideas, took risks, and laughed. When my team felt my apprehension to crawl over the box, they supported me (literally, with a knee). We learned that small steps sometimes yield more reward. We learned that trust, such as leaning into each other for strength and balance, can help the team accomplish more than anticipated.

I am lucky to be a part of this team. I want to keep earning that honor, flaws and all. So, I will find a better way to make up for my misbehavior. I will extend the right to make mistakes (and make up for them), extend trust, take risks, reflect, and adjust. Most importantly, I will check myself (my needy behavior) so that my voice, my participation in the accomplishment is positive.