Don’t Take it Personally

You have poured your heart and soul into the vision of the future and have worked as hard as you possibly can to make it happen.  You are a change agent on the front line, and a colleague has just told you that your ideas are “crazy, stupid, never going to happen, and they’re going to ruin life as we know it…”.  Well then… take a deep breath and say to yourself — “I am not going to take this personally”.

If you can manage to do this, disengage yourself from being the owner of the change and try to step into a role of impartial observer, or perhaps, investigator.  This is a great opportunity to ask a lot of “why” questions in order to understand the detractor’s point of view.  There’s a reason for their opposition and knowing what it is can provide you with some valuable information.

  • There may actually be a flaw in your plan and in what you’re proposing the future will be.  Better to find that out as early as you can.
  • How they describe their opposition may give you a clue as to how you need to manage change for this person – maybe the standard approach that seems to be working for everybody else isn’t going to work for them.
  • It would be good to discover if it really is only just this person who has the opposition — or are they expressing the opinions of a larger group who haven’t yet said anything out loud.
  • It would also be good to discover if it truly is personal and their opposition really is resulting from a sense of competition with you, or some motivator like that.  This can make you aware of how you’ll need to work with this person in the future — but, even though it’s personal — don’t take it personally.  Do not let this derail you.

Good for you if you managed to step back from yourself and understand what the other person is telling you.  With that knowledge you can make a decision based on rational thought and not emotional reaction to being attacked.  And maybe you can rationally decide that where you’re headed is just fine!

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