“As I was walking into the office,” commented a manager, “out of the corner of my eye, I noticed Cade (a long-time team member) entering through another door. I’m sure Cade saw me, but I pretended that I didn’t see him and hurried off.”
The manager feared that Cade was frustrated and communication would likely be unpleasant.
At the end of the previous day, a customer and Cade got into a snit about a delivery issue. After the encounter, Cade criticized his manager to several peers. “I should never have had to deal with this. The boss misled the customer and I’m expected to clean it up.”
The manager admitted, “I was concerned about the customer but I had other commitments and just did not want to deal with Cade at that moment.”
Awkward encounters are challenges for most us. We know we need to have a candid conversation. We rationalize our decision to postpone as in, “I had other things to deal with.” “That’s not how I wanted to start my day.” “I thought I should let things cool down a bit.”
So when the voice in your head shouts, “retreat,” it is likely a signal that you should charge into the fray.