As most of you that read these post know, I have played football for as long as I can remember. In fact, I started playing in the 8th grade, and I continued to play all the way through college. A few years ago now, I played my last game, and I had to move on from the sport. It was hard for me to do, but I knew that it had to be done. The only problem is that once you have something become the major part of how you define yourself; it is extremely hard to get back to regular life.
Most people see football as this glory land. They don’t realize all of the things that you are put through to make yourself better. Imagine someone doing everything that they can to break you down. That is football as I know it. It toughens you up, and the things that used to bother you just roll off your back. After you are called every name in the book three or four times, there is nothing that can be said to you that will phase you. That is where I ended up in my career. There was nothing that could be said to me that bothered me, and I still carry that with me today.
Moving into the job force, I thought that it was going to be a lot like football. After every play, you are analyzed, and you know where you need to improve. That seems to only happen once a year. It is hard working without really knowing how you are performing. Of course, you have an idea, but there is no way to really know what your boss thinks. They are taught to tip-toe around everything so that they do not say anything that will get them into trouble. This is really where my post begins.
I am a very blunt person, and I think that this comes from playing football for so long. There is absolutely no need to sugar-coat anything in life. It does not get you any results, but I did not realize that other people are not used to this. This is the one thing that I had to learn. In a corporate environment, you have to learn to play the game.
Many months ago, my manager called me into his office, and he told me that I was scaring people in the office. I was shocked to hear this, but he explained it to me pretty clearly. He told me that people were not used to the way that I explained things so forwardly, and I had to really evaluate what it was that I was doing. Looking from the outside in, I could see why people would be a little frightened by me, but I was just trying to coach them up. As we all know, some people don’t respond well to that.
After I was told this by my manager, I immediately bought a book to get some tips on work place communication. It clearly showed me that everyone is from different walks of life, and I know this! It just did not click in my mind. For years, I was around people who were just like me. I have worked on it, and I think that I have the best method to talk to your co-workers. It is very simple.
You have to treat your co-workers like they are customers of your services. You have a certain level of respect for your customers, and you tell them things that might hurt their feelings in the nicest way that you can. It is hard to say it to them so politely, but you have to. Your co-workers are a huge part of your day, and they can make your life miserable. Over my learning period, I have greatly improved, and I think that I am working in the right direction. It is hard to get used to the corporate work environment, but it is something that we all have to learn so that we can be successful.