Business is about making the right decisions that will make you money. And most successful business people focus on facts and data to make decisions. If you’re managing a big public corporation, you look at your stock price. If you’re managing a project, you look at key performance indicators or KPIs to tell you how you’re doing. When trying to make our day-to-day work relationships successful, though, we often tend to ignore the data.


In our work relationships, we often ignore the data

For example, when I was working for a big corporation, there was a time when I felt my manager was not giving me the respect I deserved. It seemed that EVERY TIME one of our scheduled 1-on-1 meetings came around he would shorten it or even cancel it without providing an explanation. I felt that he was ALWAYS doing this to me and it made my blood boil.


Then one Thursday, while grabbing lunch with a group of coworkers, I heard one of them complain about his wife, explaining that she’s ALWAYS leaving her shoes all around the house, instead of putting them away, and how that drives him nuts. And I could see it in his demeanor that the topic made his blood boil. So much so, that it grabbed my attention and made me think.

How is this absolute language (“always”, “never”) and thinking helpful? Look how worked up he’s getting. And is it even true? Does my coworker’s wife really ALWAYS leave her shoes out? Or is that just a sensitive spot for him?


Is absolute language helpful? Or is it often untrue?


And then it hit me… Does my boss really ALWAYS cheat me out of my 1-on-1 time? No, not always. That was the truth. That’s what the data showed.


Maybe I was overly eager to receive feedback and encouragement. And maybe he didn’t feel he had to meet with me because he felt I was doing just fine. I don’t know. The point is, when I looked at the data, I saw that the relationship I wanted to forge with my boss was better served by paying attention to the reality of his schedule, and by seeing that my feelings about my work, and not his feelings about it, were what was making me uneasy.



This week, I challenge you to look at the data. Before blurting out (or even thinking) those fighting words ask yourself, does this person ALWAYS do this, or is it you who sometimes prefers to feel like you’re not in control of your own environment?