Sadly, many of us have learned to bubble-wrap our opinions/thoughts/ideas/feedback for a number of reasons:
- The first manager you ever had taught you that bubble-wrapping worked because he is uncomfortable with conflict, so he avoided it. And so did you. (Heck, what did you know? You were fresh out of college and just wanted to do well at your first job!)
- Your employee who bursts into tears every time she’s given feedback has taught you to avoid the situation altogether. (Understandable!) So you avert your eyes, keep a healthy distance and bubble-wrap the hell out of everything you say to her. You don’t want to look like the big bad wolf in the office.
- Nearly everyone around you takes things personally, so they favor approval over effective, healthy growth, real conversations, and oh yeah, profit.
- The company you used to work for had a culture of blaming/making-wrong/mistakes-are-bad/stay-under-the-radar, so you learned that bubble-wrapping might help you keep your job.
- Your last boss was a bully who only liked himself, his ideas and his way of doing things. So you learned to bubble-wrap and put up with it because your husband just got riffed from the bank and your family needed the steady paycheck.
- You attended a two-day management training that taught you to empower your employees! Give them the good-bad-good feedback sandwich and have a 30-minute conversation about their feelings every time they missed a deadline or performed under par. (I agree, that trainer ought to be shot.)
A Learned Behavior
Yes, many of us have learned to bubble-wrap for reasons that are understandable at the time. The problem is that we’re each incredibly intelligent, creative, and resourceful. So, our brains quickly make these communication patterns a habit. Then we’re on Autopilot. And even though we get different jobs with different companies or we escape Corporate America and start our own business, we often bring along our behavior patterns. And many of them are now outdated and no longer useful.
[This happens in our relationships too, btw.]
A Total Waste
Bubble-wrapping is a waste of time, money, resources, and energy that could be put toward fun, exciting, ideas, products, and solutions! And greater versions of ourselves!
You can say what you mean and mean what you say without being mean.
Plus, you’re so much more interesting and the conversation is more colorful when you don’t bubble-wrap.
Let go of your need for approval, your fear of rejection, and your weapons of mass protection!
Take a healthy risk. Entrepreneurship and leadership are not for the fragile.