How often have you met someone who appears to operate in a world of their own, seemingly oblivious to the people and events going on around them? Most of us have worked with the person who has little awareness of how their approach impacts others. Different to those who don’t care about the impact they have, ‘bubble people’ as I like to think of them are often well meaning.
Unfortunately however until someone bursts their bubble they are unlikely to change and will never reach their potential. Bubble people benefit greatly from working for a leader who is willing and able to deliver honest feedback with respect and sensitivity. A tough love approach is most likely to snap them out of their world and into reality. As much as the truth is needed for it to be received well and have a positive impact it must be delivered with kindness.
Many managers find these team members among the hardest to manage. While the ‘bubble boys and girls’ of the world have good intentions the reality is their behaviour needs to change. Their lack of personal awareness can make confronting this truth emotionally difficult for them. All too often I observe managers avoiding the issue for fear of upsetting them.
Unless we help these people to develop greater awareness and adopt more successful approaches their potential will remain untapped. It is unquestionably the right thing to do to burst their bubble and help them deal with their difficult reality. Influencing awareness takes three key steps:
- Burst the bubble; connect with reality – show them there is an issue
- Reveal impacts; connect with consequences for example how their bubble behaviour impacts their success and relationships
- Show evidence; connect with experience – point to examples they can understand
To help someone shift well entrenched behaviours start with influencing his or her depth of desire for and commitment to change. Help them to understand why they should change; in other words what’s in it for them and other people. Show them how will their reality shift if they choose to take different approaches? Reveal what they are capable of and how they can more effectively tap into their full potential by adapting in the ways they need to.
Encourage people to aspire to be the best possible version of themselves; that is the person they really want to be and will be proud of. Encourage them to act with courage and determination in battling fears and limiting beliefs that often drive unsuccessful behaviours. Give people reason to have hope; share why you believe in them and their ability to work through what can at times be a confronting process of building personal awareness and changing our ways.
Keep in mind that our ability to influence the thoughts, feelings or actions of another person comes down to the extent to which they are willing to let us. How willing people are to allow us into their inner world of thought and emotion typically depends on the trust and respect they feel toward us. Focus on building a strong relationship before expecting to influence the emotional development of anyone.