SHOES, SOFAS AND INTERIOR WALL PAINT. What do these three words have in common?
‘Comfortable.’ We buy these, and tons of other stuff, because it makes us feel comfortable. Makes us relaxed, peaceful maybe even cosy. And the marketers know this. Everything from holidays to doorknobs is labelled with this word to win your business, and as a consequence we have become conditioned to think, mostly unconsciously, that feeling comfortable is good and the opposite is bad.
But the ‘opposite’ is exactly what separates managers from the managed. Everyday managers must make uncomfortable decisions, give uncomfortable presentations, and sit through uncomfortable boardroom meetings. Being able to tolerate, or better still, reframe these experiences is a skill that all manager-wannabes need to master quickly.
How is your tolerance level to date? Ask yourself these three questions:
When a customer sends you an angry complaint e-mail, do you immediately shoot back an e-mail yourself, or uncomfortably pick up the phone and make an uncomfortable phone call to uncover more information and reassure the customer that you will resolve the problem?
When your colleague makes a serious mistake, do you look the other way, since this is your boss’s responsibility to manage, or uncomfortably pull your colleague aside and help them make a correction?
When your boss asks for volunteers to help him present the new product’s features at the board meeting, do you drop your head and stare at the ground, or uncomfortable raise your hand and offer you expertise?
That uncomfortable feeling is not only necessary for business, it is an indicator that there is a career booster awaiting you. If you feel uncomfortable, chances are that those around you are equally unsteady, and this means you have an opportunity to stand out.