There is no mincing words with a toddler. They say what the mean and they mean what the say. It’s as adults we become more illusive with our message and have a difficult time being direct. For my supervisor its even a more difficult thing.
I used to analyze and go over and over in my head what went wrong every time I had a conversation with her. I would think maybe it’s my body language, what I said, how I said it, and now eight years later I have come up with only one explanation she is a bad communicator.
As adults we often sugar coat topics to make discussions more bearable to handle. So different from a two year old. There is no questioning my son’s body language, tone, and message. It is, “I am mad and you are about to pay for it.” My supervisor I often feel comes across in a similar way but shockingly I think she is unaware of it. Unlike my son who is acutely aware of his behavior and what he is trying to express, my boss seems clueless on how she comes off and becomes offended when you become defensive when her demeanor is putting off a very hostile attitude. It becomes even more difficult because she sometimes gets so worked up she doesn’t even let you finish explaining before the rapid fire questioning begins and if you dare to question her approach she becomes very stern and stubborn; very much like my son right before I at times have to put him in time out. However there is no timeouts for bosses and what is even more upsetting is that unlike my son who is young and has much to learn about getting along with people and communicating, she is middle aged. She is not going to change, there is no chance of growth or adapting. So then it comes to an acceptance on my part. Just as I accept that Liam might have a temper tantrum or that there might be a timeout today, I must accept that I will never be able to be at ease speaking with my supervisor. It will never be comfortable and it will always leave me feeling frustrated. Maybe that is where I can take a lesson from Liam. Just as he walks out of his timeout and starts fresh all over again maybe I can try to do the same thing with my supervisor after our next “talk”. If not, at least maybe I can put myself in a temporary timeout.