Recently, I enjoyed a trip with two friends, Char and Maria. Driving back home,as we were chatting between two, then all three, then talking over each other- and yes, we heard each line of communication, as women have a knack to do- Char stopped suddenly and blurted out, still chewing with a mouth full of chips, “Okay, okay, I’ve got this issue, and I need to tell you
about it. I can’t hold it back any longer.”
“Okay, Char, what it is. Out with it, “ Maria said in her rogue-ish impatience. She cackled out a loud rendition of the wicked witch of the north and rung her hands as if she were onto something big. “We’re all friends, let’s have it.”
With Maria’s rowdy response, Char winced and began to speak about her situation at work, then stopped. She felt that, while she trusted the friendly company, they may judge what she says or create more of it than it is. Her mind began creating scenarios of “what did she say,” then “what did you say,” as she searched for the words to describe the relationship with someone she manages. Her friends had always looked up to her as a leader, so Char was careful to describe this matter to the women she had known nearly all her life.
After a long awkward pause, I said quietly, “Cha-a-ar, is everything alright?”
She reacted quickly: “Everything is fine, well, no, not fine; but, it’s…I wish I…well, damn, I’m going to just come out with it. I hate this, but I need to tell someone, or I’m going to go nuts.”
As I was driving, I quickly looked up to the rear view mirror and Char’s face was red, like angry red. Char was noted for her many stories about work: how she felt violated, people not respecting her, people bossing her around, subordinates calling her out in public on things she did, and the list goes on. Typically, after ranting about it, she seemed to take it all in stride and move on. This time was different.
Char began her story.
“I manage three people in my department and one supervises another employee. The employee’s name is Samantha. Samantha is not the brightest crayon in the box, and she barely gets her work done. In fact, I do not know how she was hired into her position of auditing insurance claims. Compared to the average auditor her capabilities are way below her pay grade and she is always behind. Every day she has a problem with someone else and tries to divert the attention away from herself.
Well, the last few weeks, because of the year end, we need to finish out all of these claims and she is dragging the team down. I asked her supervisor if she could talk with her to find out why she could not get up to speed. Her supervisor, Tara, reported that Samantha has had multiple days off work, took a snow day when the streets were only damp, called off when it rained, and God knows what else her Tara told me. Bottom line is Sam’s off work more than she is at work!
I asked the Tara about her course of action. She said that Samantha had some personal problems and that she felt sorry for her.
I came unglued. I swear fire shout out of my ears. I told Tara to get back in her office and tell that Samantha that she is going to complete her stack of files if she has to stay all night to do it! Further, I told her that Samantha needs to be put on a performance improvement plan and I was putting her on one, too!! I had just had enough, my numbers were looking bad, and the hammer was coming down on me from the powers that be. Tara stormed out of my office in tears. I was so mad, I was shaking.
Later, Samantha was knocking at my door. Do you believe it? She could not wait to come tell me how to do my job. She came in with all her daggers ready. She had the gall to stand with her hands on her hips at my door and tell me I was the worst person she has ever met, that I was a heartless, uncaring bitch. After she caused all the gossip in the office, spoke to everyone in condescending ways, and never respected any authority!
I lost all my senses and told her to get her (expletives) back to her desk or she was fired. I told her she had no business storming into my office and talking to me like I was a child.
Samantha stormed at me with a vengeance of words I cannot repea
t. I was appalled at her behavior. This girl has repeatedly tried to destroy me in front of her peers, other supervisors and my manager. I told her that she needed to get herself together and better think about what she just said. I further told her that we were going to take a little trip down to HR.
She finally stormed out of my office and slammed the door so hard that the frame fell apart. I was shaking so bad that I felt like puking!
Can you believe it? Both of them, so ignorant! I have been nothing but nice to them and they (expletive) all over me!!
What should I do?”
As I drove and listened in silence at Char’s story, I couldn’t help but see all of the little “jewels of denial” that she was laying before herself without even knowing it. Maria seemed so surprised but withheld her response with a shrug and the old ‘I don’t know what to say’ look.
I asked her, “Char, looking back on this situation, what would you have done differently that could have changed the outcome?” Her response was, “Nothing, those dumb (expletives) know their jobs, they just need to quit worrying about what I’m doing and get to work!”
Again, silence, in this car ride that started out to be so fun. Maria, retreated to her blanket and pillow, lowered her seat and rolled over to an imaginary nap. I was left with our “dear” Char.
“Um, Char, do you see anything in that conversation that you could have done differently?” I thought I’d ask again in case she was still spinning in her anger.
“No damn way! She is trying to get me fired so she can feel good about herself. She thinks that if she eliminates the power, that she has won, and that she will be able to stay without being responsible in her job.”
“Okay. I see. So, based on this situation that you said seems to
re-occur, what kind of outcome is important to you?”
“I’m not changing, if that is what you are getting at. Sam
antha is a bully and needs to get with the program.”
“Char, are you the upper management that oversees Samantha’s direct report?”
“Yes, and she is the only one I have a problem with. Tara should have asserted her authority prior to Samantha storming into my office and blowing off like a cannon.”
“I see. It seems that her supervisor might have an issue, as well. Is that true?”
“Yes, I guess that could be it, too. She just doesn’t get how to manage people.”
“What kind of wisdom can you offer her to better manage Samantha?”
“I guess I should get more information on why Samantha went over her head to get to me.”
“What could you tell her to say to Samantha to make the situation better?”
“I don’t know if that situation can be resolved. Samantha has not been performing. I really don’t know why she is not performing. She’s called off sick a lot. ”
“What, typically, makes people call off sick a lot, from a manager’s perspective?”
“They have lots of problems or they are unhappy at work.”
I simply said, “Yes.”
I imagine, by now, you can see all of the “jewels of denial” that my friend, Char, the supervisor, Tara, and Samantha have presented. Additionally, you probably wondered what happened with Maria, as she completely tuned out the conversation and avoided any engagement in the exchange.
When clients inquire about these types of scenarios, I begin to take great care to guide them to a place of self-awareness, just like the questions I asked of Char. When I ask specific questions, the tightly wound emotions of fear, anger, anxiety and others, come rolling out like a river of information. What is the magic that causes this release, you ask?
While our subconscious mind holds all the beliefs from past experiences, they sometimes get stuck and cannot move past repeated similar situations that mimic the first experience. It is our natural protection system. As you could read, from Char’s experience, this was not the first time she experienced this. In fact, it had become her life story, fighting everyone and putting up shields to be “ready” for the next person who came in her path.
If Char had chosen to see a professional specialist who practices NeuroLinguistic Programming, she would have been taken on a journey to evaluate what she wants in life, how to ask for it, how to show up, keep her word, and have an attitude of gratitude. With just these five principles, this conflict could have been diffused with one single short meeting to gain an understanding and gather mo
re information about Samantha’s “failure” to thrive in her role. A response rather than a reaction would have been key in resolving the conflict.
When we can recognize our “jewels of denial,” we can soon begin to realize that the whole world is not against us and that others are going through similar challenges in life. When we explore more and find our “aha” moments, we begin to chip away at what has kept us in our limiting beliefs, and further begin to discover that we are a diamond beneath the surface!
Kat is a Core Alignment Mentor and Professional NLP Specialist, and Emotional Wisdom Trainer. She is the founder of Taproots for Life, where she guides women, men and teens to awaken their light within to live a life of joy. She believes that each person deserves to feel grounded with a voice to be heard, while standing in their own authenticity.
Kat holds a sacred space for people to grow as independent thinkers by exploring, discovering and embracing their true authenticity and to inspire others with love, understanding and empowerment.
Her mentoring has changed lives, locally and internationally. She is also a writer, herbalist, aromatherapist and lightworker. For more information: firstname.lastname@example.org