"Why won't they just listen to me?" (Raw authority threatens; relationship inspires.)

Musing for:

“Why won’t they just listen to me?”

Years ago, I sat terrified next to my wife, facing my pastor sitting at his desk.

The day before, one of my kids had grown so frustrated with a moment of correction that they had threatened some pretty serious self-harm.

Something in my parenting approach was obviously not working.

And through that experience, I learned an important principle.

I had become so consumed with ensuring my kids became good kids that I had overused my authority (and my grown-up stature) as my primary tool of influence.

So my wife and I began a number of new habits, deliberately spending time with our children both together and one-on-one.

They’re grown now, and mostly out of the house. But guess what. They became good kids. And they enjoy being with their parents – and with each other.

Your work colleagues aren’t the same thing as your family, but this principle is one that still translates.

When you rely too much on your position, your certifications, your role as a recognized expert, your ability to influence others quickly fades. Sometimes the best thing you can do to advance at work is to sit and listen, without judgment, to the personal problems that are distracting one of your colleagues.

Exercising your raw authority to drive a decision through can feel threatening, but when you have a strong relationship, your ideas can feel inspiring.

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