How are you handling YOUR “crucial confrontations?” One of my favorite books shares an approach. Before I jump into that, I’d like to share two instances where crucial confrontations skills come in handy. They are real life.
Disclaimer: I’m not an expert at crucial confrontations, just someone trying to get better at them. Having read plenty of “leadership” books on the subject, I’m pleased to have found something that works. That’s rare amidst the sea of words on the subject of confrontations.
Brilliant. They left my kid out of the sixth grade slide show – AFTER I emailed them his pics AND verified that they’d been received! WTH??????
As you may not know, my daughter just graduated as a senior from high school. She was summa cum laude, received principal’s award, and other honors. But, like my colleague, even though my daughter submitted the pictures in time to the right person, verified that they were received, my daughter did NOT appear in the senior slide show. I bet this has happened to others at this time of the year.
- Are you sure you sent the email with the pictures? You know we had to get after you to remember to scan the pictures.
- Did you send them to the right person? Maybe you flubbed the email address…you tend to do that, don’t you?
- Was there a conspiracy or plot to keep you out of the slide show? Maybe one of your friend’s mothers was jealous of how well you were doing.
People aren’t all that good at accurately attributing causality. We quickly jump to unflattering conclusions. The chief error we make is a simple one: We assume that people do what they do because of personality factors (mostly motivational) alone. Why did that woman steal from a co-worker? She’s dishonest.
Human beings often employ what is known as a dispositional rather than a situational view of others. We argue that people act the way they do because of uncontrollable personality factors (their disposition) as opposed to doing what they do because of forces in their environment (the situation). We make this attribution error because when we look at others, we see their actions far more readily than we see the forces behind them.
People often enact behaviors they take no joy in because of social pressure, lack of other options, or any of a variety of forces beyond personal pleasure. For example, the woman stole because she needed money to buy medicine for her children. Assuming that others do contrary things because it’s in their makeup or they actually enjoy doing them and then ignoring any other potential motivational forces is a mistake. Psychologists classify this mistake as an attribution error. And because it happens so consistently across people, times and places, it is called the Fundamental Attribution Error.
- Describe the expectation.
- Describe the gap between the expectation and what actually happened.
- Ask the question, “What happened?”
This past weekend at the Banquet, I expected to see my daughter represented in the slide show featuring all the seniors. The information I had suggested she had sent in all the pictures (attached with email below) before the deadline.
At the end of the slide show, I couldn’t help but notice my daughter was not included in the slideshow. What happened?
What do you have against my daughter?!? Were you jealous because your daughter didn’t make it? Out of all the seniors present, she was the ONLY one who did NOT have her pictures appear in the slide show! Not only is she graduating summa cum laude, but she’s received all these honors and awards, and this one precious moment in time in front of her peers, her friend’s parents, YOU LEFT HER OUT!!! I am going to complain to the principal, the superintendent, and tell every one of the parents what you FAILED to do right.
OH MY! I AM SOOO SORRY. I am just shaking right now! I got confused because Ms. [TeacherName] sent in a picture and said that she didn’t bring her pictures in. I spend about 100 + hours on this slide show and check and double check and send emails to faculty… There is NO excuse. I am just SICK about it, which doesn’t help.
The only thing I can offer is my sincere apologies to your family and especially Aida. I can also add her other pictures and burn to a DVD. I was thinking of burning DVD’s and distributing to seniors.
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