Usually I know what to expect when I head into a meeting. Usually I can see what is coming and figure out any problems that are in the offing. I don’t merely assume the best, but I do have an expectation of human to human interaction, with a measure of empathy on all sides.
I screwed up today on this front.
I completely underestimated the amount of animosity that can be creating while troubleshooting technical issues. I was unable to foresee an adversarial relationship between “partners.” I couldn’t fathom the ways in which power could be adopted to make me feel impotent and trivial.
I shouldn’t have been shocked but I was.
I pursued connection and found brick walls. I pursued value and I found shifting responsibility. I sought relationships and I found accusations.
In short, I was taken aback.
The lessons learned:
1. Do not keep sharing your screen when you are professing your lack of understanding or frustration at the way a conversation is going.
2. Do not try to troubleshoot someone else’s firewall.
3. Seek out people that you trust to add sanity to a call that has gone off the rails.
4. Treasure every relationship that doesn’t make you feel like a failure.
5. If you have to remove yourself from a situation to stop from damaging a relationship that is important to others, do so.
6. Feel empowered to say no.
7. Don’t assume that the foot in your mouth is your own. Others can place theirs in there just as easily.
8. Set expectations as early as you can. (i.e., don’t get on a call unless you know who is on the other line.)
9. Have an amazing collaborative experience as soon after a soul sucking one as possible.
10. Be honest about what you are and are not willing to do for others. No one should be able to back you into agreeing to what is against your better judgement.
That’s it. That’s what I learned today.