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While it is very important to recognize and pay attention to others (click here for last week’s post), like most things, there is a potential downside. If you are paralyzed in moving forward or taking action, if you find yourself focusing on the one person who may be disgruntled or you are trying to make everyone happy all of the time, you may need to pause and consider a different approach. These are similar challenges to the post I shared a couple of weeks ago on “When when knowing yourself becomes a liability.”  If you are actively trying to recognize others and you are finding yourself exhausted, overwhelmed and frustrated that you cannot make everyone happy, this may be a sign you have moved beyond “recognition” to “people pleasing.”  Join me this week as we highlight the first of three signs that indicate you may be doing too much “recognizing others” as well as what to do about it!

  1. Focusing on individual vs. collective feedback. Do you find yourself analyzing and replaying the one negative response you received about your meeting? Do you keep trying to make changes based on what each individual in your partnership wants to do and they start to become contradictory? Do you find yourself feeling overwhelmed and overloaded by all of the things you have agreed to do after taking time to “recognize others”?  If you can say yes to any of these questions, you may be spending too much time on individual feedback vs. collective feedback. While some individuals (your board or coalition chair, your boss, etc.) may have a little more influence and power than others, be careful that you are not taking every individual recommendation as something that needs to be added to your to-do list! When you recognize others in a partnership, try to focus on the collective more than the individuals. For instance, if you are facilitating a meeting and one person looks particularly annoyed and grumpy but 10 people are nodding their heads and showing support, you are probably doing an excellent job of recognizing others. Even one naysayer can be challenging (especially if you are a recovering people pleaser like me!), but in order to move forward positively and productively, we have to look at the larger group’s perspective rather than just one or two people. If you are continuing to struggle with understanding what that is, consider sending out an anonymous survey to your key partners to get feedback on a particular issue. Focus on the majority perspective and try move forward! You can even acknowledge that not everyone agrees with this perspective; however, the majority have made this recommendation and you are moving forward in this direction.

What about you? What has worked for you to focus on collective vs. individual feedback in your partnership?

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