I guess we all remember our first job (the same way we would remember our “list of firsts”). I don’t know if I was excited or nervous (pretty much the two feelings attached with anything on my “firsts list”). Any ways I remember being introduced around and to my desk (to which I would serve other than my boss and the company). Till a few months it was a comforting place, until one day my boss summoned me to his cabin. I thought I’ll be appreciated for my work, only to know in few minutes that my myth was about to be broken.
She said in a serious tone,” You are not performing well. It has been three months and you are not meeting your deliverables. As a result we’ll have to put you under “PIP” (performance improvement plan). As scary as it sounded it also sounded awesome to me (of course the acronym, one of the first lingos of the corporate world).
With a sinking heart and heavy steps I reached my work station. Now the desk didn’t seem inviting or comfortable. The talk had snatched away my comfort zone and transformed it into a lion’s den (the one place that I would be afraid to sit).
My reaction seems to have been blurred but I still remember that my feelings had taken a strong grip of me. Tears started to roll out, knowing and thinking that I’ve failed. Then, this feeling was overpowered by crazy thought to just harm the one who gave me this news. I didn’t know what to do, thinking that I’ll be fired I just started pushing myself too much (of course there were people around who were very supportive).
I don’t know if it was the fear of failing or the fear of losing my job that made me hasten my steps towards my job. By the end of the month I was not announced the employee of the month, however, I was performing. I was glad to hear the news and relieved to have been removed from “PIP”.
Years have passed by and now I’m the boss. Sometimes I find myself in the exact same spot as my boss. I would not say that I act better than her because it would mean comparing (you cannot compare the situations, in my understanding because situations and people will not remain the same). I would like to say that I try to wear a different approach when I have to break a bad news.
This experience has taught me how the person would feel at the receiving end. As the boss I know I’ve to break the news. I can hear their confidence shatter (the same way mine was broken like a glass back then). I try to gather the pieces with them and from here on I become there silent and active guide. By breaking the news you are already the devil, the least you can do is be the person and guide him/her.
When you are bad at something, you would already know that. Someone telling you that “you are bad” will not solve the problem. What will solve the problem is if that person can tell you what needs to be done. The best way to say would be, “exchanging the role from the giver to the receiver” and play the role of your receiver.