How would you grow as a leader if instead of putting people in “time out” you made a choice to put “time in”?
I define “time out” as the act of isolating one’s self or someone else to avoid having a conversation about behavior, the feelings involved, and what needs to change to move the relationship forward.
I work with leaders across this country every week that instead of engaging in healthy conflict, check out of the relationship and put people in time out like they are children.
The problem with this behavior is the relationship suffers, resentment builds, and both engagement and productivity is diminished.
I recently conducted a Navigating Difficult Conversations workshop where I asked leaders in the room to list the most common ways they put people in time out. The answers were insightful, and they confirmed people go to great lengths to avoid having wholehearted, transparent conversations.
10 TIME OUT BEHAVIORS:
- Avoid sharing feelings, needs, expectations
- Dismiss other’s feelings
- Detach from the relationship
- Multi-task when communicating
- Take on work that is not your responsibility
- Initiate the least contact necessary
- Delegate problem(s) to someone else
- Use positional authority to deal with issues
- Move offices
- Change jobs
It can be easier to check out of the relationship, not address underlining issues, and to rationalize our behavior. However, everyone loses in this scenario.
Effective communication requires putting time in our relationships – especially in the difficult moments when we would rather have time out.
The best leaders recognize the value of time in. They understand emotions are at the core of every problem, and they put relationships over their own discomfort.
Today, I hope you will be more intentional about putting “time in” the relationship that need it.