I can’t tell you how many times I’ve worked with clients who are struggling through challenges with a person who is making poor choices.  Generally the conversation morphs into a guessing game style diagnosis of why:

  • Why someone isn’t showing up for work on time?
  • Why the person is so angry?
  • Why someone has a commitment phobia?

And often my response is, “Stop!”

Stop using your energy and creative reasoning to make guesses about the root cause of another’s choices.

Sometimes the why just doesn’t matter.

Too often we get into diagnosing why and feel like we’ll tolerate the bad behavior until it is better.  We focus on trying to fix a situation that is completely out of our control and suffer the consequences of poor choices while we try to figure it all out.

If the person who cannot manage their anger is taking it out on you it is not your job to figure out why they are having outbursts.  The more important place to put your energy is in mustering the strength to set healthy boundaries and stop tolerating the behavior.

If an employee is habitually late it is not your job as their boss to figure out why and remove the barriers.   You are also not required to accommodate the tardiness.  Set clear expectation with consequences you will follow through with and see if they can make the adjustments to do what is right.  Putting a job at risk changes the stakes and often results in a change in behavior.

Certainly I recommend that you analyze the situation to determine whether there is any other action that you can take to make it better.

Are you contributing to the negative situation in any way?  Is any part of it in your control?   Have you communicated your feelings, made a request for change?

Don’t leave your colleague in the world of assumption.  State the facts.  Let them know where they stand.  Give them the opportunity to make the right choice.  Beyond that, your job is done.

Put your energy into focusing on what is so rather than why it is there then get into action with what is in your control to make the situation better today.