“Can you arrange a time to come and see me?” shoots the reply from the boss after you hands in a piece of work. You then feel your heart rush, and you look through your bosses’ calendar and it is so packed; you have no choice but to book the Friday 6pm even though you had wanted to meet your spouse for dinner that night after a busy week. The email sure felt important. You spent the whole week being uncertain and anxious. Was the piece of work good or bad, or what did you do wrong? Why did the boss want you to see him?
You meet the boss down the hallway and you tried to smile; he didn’t smile back – in fact he looked like he didn’t see you. And you thought about the email you received.
When Friday comes, you shuffle into his room; and he thank you for the hard work and told you he hasn’t got a chance to look at it because of his busy schedule. He appreciates that you’ve set a time to meet with him and take him through the work. You have a whole mixture of emotions welling up inside you but quelled it and just went through a quick 10 minutes presentation to run the boss by the work. He is happy with it, thanks you again and tells you he’s going to use it for next Wednesday’s reporting meeting. Then he tells you to have a good weekend. You look at your watch, 6.30pm and then call your spouse. What a week.
I went through a couple of Liz Fosslien’s talks and a lot of parts about teaching leaders to reduce uncertainty and anxieties for their staff relates to these sort of experiences as I described above. She advocates what she calls ’emotional proofreading’ one’s email before it gets sent out because it saves the staff a lot of unproductive anxieties and creates unnecessary stress. We have seen her ‘No Hard Feelings’ cartoons around and you probably really like it. I think I’ll have much more to write about their ideas.