"Beers at the Pub" - What?!
Many years ago, an upline manager threw some informal feedback my way - I needed to spend more time having “beers in the pub”.
I wasn’t sure how to take this at first. The pub is not really where I excel, and I’m usually with family/friends, travelling for work (back then anyway), squeezing in exercise, or doing broader community work and reading board papers after hours.
I also wondered if this was a bit of a ‘boys club’ thing to say to a woman working in a mostly male domain! So my initial reaction to his ‘advice’ was definitely sour!
But I couldn’t stop thinking about his comment. So rather than shoot down the messenger (or at least his poor delivery), I choose to give him the benefit of the doubt and get beyond my initial and immediate rejection of what he put forward. Instead, I made the choice to explore it, and worked hard to consider his comment from many different angles. I asked myself, what was his motivation and intentions in making such a comment, does this manager care about my development and professional success, and what kind of value might be derived from taking such advice?
The outtake, I needed to spend more time on stakeholder management. All work and no play, meant that I wasn’t allocating enough time to the important role of bonding more deeply with colleagues and clients, particularly informally. This also meant I was missing opportunities to socialise ideas, hear what others were focused on and passionate about, get an ear on political issues in play and be in a position to create more win:win situations. So here was my opportunity, I just needed to find a more Alisa-esque way to authentically achieve this, rather than relying on “beers in the pub” as my only option.
Funnily enough, this throw away line, still to this day, sits in my top 10 of constructive feedback received. It was also an important reminder to me that I get to choose the mindset that I want to adopt, that I should be careful not to ‘throw the baby out with the bathwater’, that I can unemotionally explore communication to find value and that a one-size fits all approach doesn’t exist, either in business or life.
What’s some of the best advice that you nearly missed?
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