You May Be The Exception
The other day in spin class, after yelling at the class to go faster and push harder, the instructor removed her mike, slid up to my bike and told me to slow down a bit, you’re working too hard. Huh? She was just telling us to keep it up, push harder. Now she’s telling me, just me, not to do that. So, I got to thinking…what if you are the exception to the rule?
What if you are listening to someone with authority, like a boss or teacher, and they are instructing the group. Since you are part of said group, their suggestions/instructions/commands apply to you, no? What if they don’t? Think of how many times you have taken a leader’s words to heart. What if they didn’t apply to you? It’s a game changer.
See, leaders generally speak to the lowest common denominator. Meaning, in order to lead a group effectively they have to address issues that arise. Most leaders think that the best way to address issues is with the group, since addressing them individually could offend people and make them defensive, and therefore more difficult to deal with. But leaders aren’t going to tell you this. Rather, they just instruct the entire group to behave, figuring it will correct the behavior of the miscreants, and the performers will just disregard the comments. But sometimes they don’t. Sometimes the comments sting.
I had a previous boss in my Corporate America life who did this all of the time. Rather than address the offender, he would tell the entire group things like “you must get your work done on time”, “answer your telephone”, “don’t leave early”, etc. I was left with the impression that I was a slacker. I wasn’t, I was just part of the group he was addressing. I was the exception. I wish I had known that back then.
So the next time you are given instruction as a group, question it. Try to objectively evaluate whether or not the leader’s comments apply to you. If you aren’t sure, ask a trusted colleague or approach the leader yourself and ask for specific ways in which you can improve. If the leader can’t come up with any, then there’s a good chance their edict doesn’t apply to you. Then you can just nod your head the next time the edict is presented, and that’s all you’ll do.