The new ME can’t seem to stop asking questions. In fact, a colleague of mine got visibly frustrated and annoyed with me, but I just shrugged it off and kept asking.
See, once upon a time, if that happened, I’d cringe and hate myself for messing up the peace. In fact, it used to be my main mission to avoid conflict at all costs. I just didn’t want to bother anyone, you know? I wanted them to like me.
Back when I was a product owner/business analyst, I got to talk to a lot of people during the day. It just so happened that the developer I was working with was doing a demo on a feature he finished.
Man, did I have a lot of questions for him.
Unfortunately for him, they all revolved around WHY he coded a section in a particular way over another (IT work, yay).
My main responsibility was to make sure that we’re delivering something of value, and if not, to push back on it. So, I flat out told him that I did not see the value in the way he built this particular section on the website. Cue the annoyance and frustration with me.
I let it roll off, gave him enough time to explain himself, and kept a cool demeanor no matter what.
I walked away from that meeting without any feelings of guilt, resentment, or anxiety.
And that’s because I listened to him respectfully, did not show any counteracting reaction, asked my questions in an even tone, and told him that I’d inquire to make sure we’re building this feature properly.
That’s it. No fanfare, no drama, no hurt feelings (on my side at least).
Because here’s the thing.
You CANNOT control someone’s reaction to YOU, you can only control YOUR reaction to THEM. If you stay calm and collected, there’s nothing to be ashamed about, nothing to replay in your head a month from now. And there’s no need to be anxious about your relationship with that person.
If I had reacted like this:
Then I’d probably resent myself, have plenty of sleepless nights, and question whether I’m mentally fit to do my job! & the best part of it was? Another colleague pulled me to the side after the meeting and gave me props for how I handled the whole situation. They actually said they wouldn’t have been able to maintain their cool.
Here’s your takeaway:
The next time you notice that someone’s getting frustrated with you, focus on staying calm, be respectful and keep pushing until you get your answers. At the end of the day, we’re all just trying to do our job. It is NOTHING personal.