A few weeks ago I met an old friend again, whom I had not seen for a long time. She told me that she was totally dissatisfied with her job and that she was leaving her current company. She was angry because she repeatedly failed to convince the management to execute her ideas. In addition, she complained that colleagues had stolen the best ideas from her and succeeded at her expense. She felt hurt and not perceived as a feeling human being because no one understands her “ideas” and no one recognizes her “abilities”.
THE OTHERS ARE TO BLAME
The report dragged and dragged and slowly her attitude got on my nerves. What struck me most when I was listening were two things:
- For her, all others were to blame, but she herself was the victim.
- She was very hurt and longed for consolation.
As a coach, I have learned how important it can be to acknowledge a person’s perceived suffering (regardless of whether I find it appropriate or not) and to offer comfort. So I appreciated her situation and showed understanding. Interestingly, it didn’t lead anywhere.
So I changed the strategy and confronted her with my impression that in her report everybody was to blame except her. I asked her where her share of her failure was? Why she was not able to gain the trust of the management and why her colleagues were able to get more attention with “her” ideas. This confrontation upset her a little bit and also caused her to think briefly. But in general, the attempt failed just like the first one.
SELF-RESPONSIBILITY OR AN ISSUE OF LEADERSHIP?
I listened to her a little bit more out of courtesy but thought about why she was so stuck in her self-created victim-situation. This disregard for responsibility for one’s own situation was bizarre for me. I wonder how good leaders can be able to perceive the people who have already quit inwardly and prepare for them either a way out of the “sacrificial posture” or out of the company.
What do you think? Let me know!