I walked into the office that morning and was quickly pulled aside by my co-workers. From the fidgety and funny way they behaved, I knew that all was not well. I had taken a sick day off the previous day and hadn’t been at the office. But, in that brief moment, I knew that whatever they had to tell me somehow involved me, and it had to be serious, I presumed.
As uneasy as I was, I quickly followed their lead to hear what they had to say. And they indeed confirmed my fears. I was the ‘sole’ reason why they all acted funny when I walked in. They knew I wasn’t one to get involved in office gossips, and they all respected me for that. But somehow, they wanted to let me know that I may have gotten in trouble with the boss, because of an operations process that hadn’t gone exactly as planned. And being one to swiftly think on my feet in seconds, I quickly went over the events that had led to that ‘unfortunate’ outcome in my mind.
I had followed the documented Standard Operating Procedures (SOP), and was convinced that I had done everything the right way, which had previously yielded great results, but not with this particular incident. My first inclination was anger. I wanted to become angry because I thought I was being used as a ‘scapegoat’ for what was standard practice, which had gone wrong. But then, I remembered that trying to justify my actions before an already angry boss, might only seem to make matters worse. Therefore, I decided to go the mild way, to be as gentle as possible in my approach; as I hadn’t wanted to complicate an already complicated situation.As I walked into his office after being summoned, I did my best to be as relaxed, and as comfortable within myself, as I could ever be. Because, I knew that was the only way I could let whatever strategy I had planned, yield its expected result. I patiently waited for him to let out his pent up emotion, until I was given the opportunity to respond. I employed the STAt principle as I said these words: “I apologize that my actions didn’t yield the desired outcome and I take total responsibility for them. I would do my best to make sure it never recurs again”. That was it. No explanations, no justifications; and our meeting that day ended on a good note, contrary to the expectations of some of my peers. And in ensuring that outcome never occurred again, I spearheaded an amendment of the SOP.
Relationships (be it professional, family or personal) matter, and the extent to which you experience the best or worst of them, depends on what you are willing to sometimes sacrifice. Unfortunately, we occasionally allow our ego’s, pride or impatience get in the way of truly valuable relationships, which may have been salvaged by mild thoughtful responses, or in a broader sense, by applying the STAt principle. I can guarantee you that in most circumstances; a soft answer almost frequently turns anger away.
Do you need help building long lasting relationships that would stand the test of time? Read my article on the STAt principle: here
To your continued success. Cheers!!!