People Get Upset
Apologize when you make a mistake: A senior manager promoted an employee two levels down without consulting this employee’s manager first; the manager, client’s direct report, was angry feeling insulted and undermined. The negativity lessened when the senior manager apologized to the manager for not involving the manager in this decision. This enable a productive conversation and interaction to take place. (Also, say thank you when receiving a compliment: Don’t brush it off; compliments are gifts so accept them graciously!!)
Use data to help create clarity and connection especially if you do not consider yourself to be a people person: Many people say they have blind spots when it comes to people interaction but they rarely miss the data… If this is you, then use your strength, in this case, the ability to observe and gather data and then use that data to re-engage with someone to find out if a relationship needs repairing or if some action needs to happen to fully achieve a desired result.
Don’t assume you know what someone is thinking…especially if the communication is via email: We’ve all got “head trash”…from dealing with the imposter syndrome to other self-limiting beliefs such as I am not good enough etc. Find out what is the actual truth / reality.
If someone is upset, there is a reason: Do you know what it is? Is it a trigger from the past; is it some sort of fear or concern; or something else? The point is don’t assume. Once we find out why the person was upset we not only are then able to do something but also we might be surprised and have more empathy for this person and their perceived “bad’ behavior toward or in front of us.