A few roles back, I was unhappy with the way things were being done in the company I was working for. My two-up boss was very capable, very caring and hadn’t been with the company very long. I took my grumbles to him in the hopes that he could fix everything. He listened and he asked a lot of great questions that brought clarity to my stream of consciousness ranting. Once he could see that I’d let off enough steam to actually engage with problem solving (instead of merely expressing), he asked a simple question that closed off this meeting.
Okay, so what does good look like?
Over and over in my mind I’d railed against the issues that stood in my way. I knew I’d do things differently. My rational brain understands trade-offs and opportunity cost, but my emotional ‘thinking’ wasn’t joining those dots. Asked how I could solve or contribute to solving the problem, I was stumped for a while. I hadn’t thought of the solutions, or even asked myself if where we were was already the best compromise.
It pays to ask. What does good look like?
Other, more positive, meetings followed, and thereafter came progress.