Many years ago, I officiated a men’s basketball game featuring Texas Tech at SMU. The game was played on a Saturday afternoon, and it was intense. I recall the game was aired by ESPN, which meant our calls and no-calls would be under significant scrutiny.
The game was close with many lead changes. With 10 seconds to go, Texas Tech had possession of the ball in their front court. I was the baseline referee on this play, and the Tech guard made a determined move to the basket.
|There was a collision in the middle of the lane, and I did not get the best look at the play. However, it was right in front of me, and my two officiating partners were waiting for me to make the call.
I eventually signaled a charging call against the Texas Tech guard, and the ball was awarded to SMU for a throw-in. Essentially, the game was over, and SMU won.
The Texas Tech players and coaches were upset about the call, but the home fans were elated, drowning the complaints from the Tech team.
The Locker Room
I was working with two veteran referees, and I could tell their mood was a bit unusual. It is customary for referees to say something like “Good game” to one another before the post-game debrief begins.
Instead of being transparent with me about the call, the veteran referees tried to be nice about the situation. However, it was obvious I had blown the call. I had called a great game until this point, but the missed call at the end of the game carries so much weight, and it easily overrides anything else that I did well. I would have appreciated a direct conversation with the referees about how I could have done better in the future.
The situation was worsened because the game was on national TV, which meant many of my officiating colleagues would see it instantly or later on SportsCenter.
The officiating situation was just one example of how the mood of others can be different than the message received. Here are some examples of how this concept applies in a business setting: The organizational leaders state that things are coming along well, but you soon find out layoffs are forthcoming.
Your manager mentions during your performance appraisal that you are exceeding expectations, but promotions are nonexistent for you.
You are thanked by your manager and colleagues for delivering an important presentation to a client, but nothing comes of it. Even worse, your manager fails to bring it up during your performance appraisal
During a staff meeting, you make a suggestion or recommendation, and it is ignored. However, when others speak, your manager listens intently.
You raise a concern to someone in leadership, and the response you get has nothing to do with your concern, such as the following scenario:
You: “The customer is unhappy because our response time is more than 48 hours. If we keep this up, we’re going to lose many of our key customers.”
Leader: “We have been in business for many years, and we have a game plan to keep us competitive.Takeaway
From my 30+ years of work experience, I find that honesty and transparency are critically important to any relationship, whether personal- or business-related.
Interestingly, this direct attitude is an excellent way to ensure our mood is aligned with the message.