Visualize and imagine for a moment that you have a ‘personal’ remote control. One that has all the buttons On, Off, Mute, Pause, Volume, etc. The difference is these buttons control you not a TV.
Now think about an incident either at work or home, with a colleague or family member that really irritated the heck out of you. They really got you mad! Did you react just like you usually would? Did you tell yourself “They knew how I would respond?” And how did that turn out for you and them? Why did you hand them your remote control so they could push your button?
A staff member came into my office beyond furious with an interaction with leadership. She was ranting, raving, angry, swearing…you get the picture. It would have been easy for me to calm her down and say everything will be fine, which is what I usually do, but instead I said, “Why did you hand her your remote?” She was so shocked she physically took a step back. The look of incomprehension was pronounced, and I said again, “Why did you hand her your remote? Did you react like you normally do? Did you not respond exactly how she expected you to? Were you angry and combative as she anticipated? If she already anticipated your reaction, why did you hand her your remote control so she could push that button?”
What would happen if you did not hand them your remote? What would happen if you changed the way you responded? How would that impact or improve your relationships? Who do you want to grant control? Think of the possibilities!