The latest motivational interaction with my self-described ‘people person’ executive…
For the last six months or so I have left the office at 3pm on Tuesdays in order to handle afamily responsibility. Given that I normally put in well over 60 hours a week and am on call 24/7 50 weeks a year, my boss hasn’t had any issue with this. Not that big of a deal.
So, this past Tuesday, my boss is out of the office leaving me in direct range of said executive:
Him: “How are you?”
(The feeling of dread slowly growing.)
Me: “I’m well, thank you and you?”
(I’m hoping it’s a simple request and thinking that I could have said that I was being tortured by a giant slow loris with glowing fuschia eyes because I can hear him shuffling papers – he isn’t listening.)
Him: “Mmhmm. Our meeting today at 4, do we need to go over anything prior?”
(Dread meter PEGGED)
Me: “I’m sorry, which meeting is this? I’m not in the office after 3 today.”
< Click >
Yes, the ‘people person’ hung up on me. I wish I could say I was stunned. I go back to whatever I was working on.
Phone rings…heavier sigh…
Him: “Is there anything I need to know?”
(Hmmm “My soul dies a little every time we speak?” Perhaps not. Crap! I still don’t know what this meeting is about.)
Me: “Everything is proceeding as planned.”
(Wha?! I’m pretty sure it is!)
Him: “We’re on target?”
Me: “Yes, sir.”
< Click >
Yes, the ‘people person’ hung up on me twice in the span of 10 minutes.
Ok so I can look at the conversation now and see where I went wrong. I could have addressed his question “do we need to go over anything prior” and thereby softening the impact of my absence by addressing any fears he might have at not being prepared or able to manage it himself. When he called back I could have apologized again, offered to stay late or to provide him with a copy of one of the six status reports I give him every month (Don’t get me started on that) or I could have drawn up an overview of whatever it was that he was calling about.
Yup, I sure could have.