You’re in the midst of a phone call or a meeting and suddenly your ears perk up. Something feels off.
Do you act on it, note it for later or let it slide?
Depends on what’s amiss.
Bodies are speaking. Nervousness, distraction, discomfort don’t always signify trouble ahead, but they should get your nose twitching. Try observing and mentally cataloging your experiences to see what happens over time. Or, simply ask a direct question: “You seem distracted today. Is this still a good time to talk about ________?”
You can hear the tap shoes. We’ve all met “dancers”—folks who never met a situation they wouldn’t try to dance through. The client who changes her mind daily because it’s easier than committing to an action plan. The boss who is purposely vague and speaks in circles so he can always be right in the end. Running for the nearest exit is appealing. But if that’s not an option, documenting and reviewing progress will help.
Dilbert lives there. These are folks who don’t want to truly own their project (or their job), usually because they fear failure. Rather than confront risk, they hide behind corporate-speak, techno-jargon or non-words. Your job is to smoke them out and either get them on board or neutralize them.
If you smell a rat, it pays to track him down.