The Easter holiday for me is one of those days much like Thanksgiving that gives pause enabling me to offer thanks for my lot in life. Its true as you age life becomes a lot cleaner and more distilled as you realize there are only a handful of things that really matter so despite how bad off you (or I) may feel in the moment the truth is we can be thankful and celebrate so much.
So during my reverie it came as a surprise when I received a panicked phone call late in the afternoon from a colleague who’d been stirred up by another party. Of course the crisis wasn’t a crisis at all and could have been easily dealt with the next day: like today.
I’ll admit, on this day of atonement and gratitude I was initially angry: why are you people bothering me on the Christian holiest day of the year? Why are you calling over trivial matters? Matters that you blew out of proportion.
And then I realized, some people never think of the end game.
In life and especially in work there are countless opportunities to react and lash out, to say untempered things, to raise a ruckus (a la my friends yesterday) when none needs to be raised. Some people simply don’t have impulse control. Or, perhaps more importantly, they don’t think of the end game. Its the difference between chess and checkers: its not so much the immediate move, its the latent effect on the next two or three moves.
Believe me, I’m going to be much more circumspect with both of the parties from yesterday’s imbroglio. Pointless and needless are not good ways to entertain a Sunday call.
Think of the implications for the workspace as well. Do you?
- Make a remark every time you can regardless of whether or not its helpful
- Forget the importance of feelings
- Write emails in anger
- Point out obvious facts just so everyone knows you recognize them
- Insist on making that call when its clearly after hours
All of us, especially me, can benefit from addressing these behaviors. Its no secret people lose productivity absent periodic disconnects from work including nights left alone and weekends unfettered by pointless interruptions. But how many of us practice establishing these good boundaries?
More importantly, how many of us respect others’ limits.
The next time you’re tempted to lash out, fire off a response or get hold of someone “right now!” I hope you take a moment to think through your actions. What’s the end game? And is the crisis you’re all about really a crisis after all?
In a world where collaboration and relationships are the coin of the realm, don’t spend yours wantonly realizing too late in the life the end game is no one wants to work with you.