You’ve been sitting at your desk nearly the entire morning, working on that project, and you have so little to show for your efforts. Your people have been coming into your office in a steady stream with their questions, comments and problems. Some of them could have been handled without your involvement at all. Some aren’t all that important and some are completely without purpose. You’ve been interrupted so many times that you’ve spent the better part of your morning just trying to remember your train of thought and make some progress on your project and you rue the day you declared your “open door policy.”
Then it happens. Bob knocks on your door frame and says, “Got a minute, boss?” You’re a reasonable person, but what comes out of your mouth is so “out there” that you can actually hear your mind snap as you say, “No, I don’t have a minute. Can’t you see I’m busy?”
It’s easy to be reactive. That knee-jerk stuff is so simple – even natural – but the accent is on the “jerk” part. As the people who look to you for leadership gather around the water cooler you can be sure someone will say, “Boy, the boss is a jerk today.” And when that happens, there is no way your people are giving their best at anything but trying to stay away from you.
There really a simple solution. Just tape a note to your door that reads, “I’m working on a project. Please don’t knock unless it’s both important and urgent.” Then close your door.
Being proactive always works better, but you knew that. It’s really a slap-on-the-forehead moment.
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