A timely reminder why, “that’s just how I am”, isn’t just about you

I’ve recently taken on a role coaching my sons football team and one thing that’s struck me is the desire of opposing team’s coaches to shout criticism at the referee at every opportunity (not every coach, but too many).  I’m sure if you asked them once they calm down, these coaches would say they’ve always struggled to control their emotions during a game and it’s “just how I am”.

But I do wonder if they realise how their behaviour is impacting on others.  If coaches shout at the referee if things don’t go their team’s way, it also gives parents and players ‘permission’ to blame poor performance on others (“he was never offside ref”) rather than take responsibility for how things turn out (“hold your run a bit longer to make sure you don’t get caught offside”).  That’s not a good thing in my book.

And what about the workplace?  How could a, “that’s just how I am” approach impact on the performance of others?  Here’s an example.  We all like people to like us (even football referee’s!).  But how about people who have NEVER liked to feel someone might be upset with them.  Could this impact on their ability to give the honest feedback needed to help someone improve?  Could this also ‘set the tone’ for feedback across the organisation? We all have some element of, “that’s just how I am” and that’s OK.  Choosing NOT to take time to understand how this might negatively impact on the performance of others and then do something about it really isn’t.

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