This kind of person plays judge, jury and executioner for you and your business as they tell you what you must do, how things need to be, the only thing that works. For many years now I’ve worked with the principle that when a 'should' enters the conversation it’s time to search out alternative options.
It’s not that I’m saying that someone who dictates their mandate is wrong. Not at all. It’s simply that the word ‘should’ is meant for them, not you. Their strength of opinion comes from an action having worked so well for them in their business, in their life, they convince themselves this is the best way to do things – maybe even the only way.
I say dogmatically – and I suspect that many of us would struggle to accept that word, as we'd say it's not that we are dogmatic when we suggest alternative options and actions to other people in business. Humour me, though. Over the next week observe how others behave. Listen in to your own dialogue. When are you telling people what they ‘should’ do? When are you telling someone that ‘this’ is the right way? When are you imposing your thoughts onto others? We all do it to greater or lesser degrees, and at times we may be in danger of becoming dogmatic, authoritarian, blunt as we tell people what they must do – afterall, we’re human, and we’re conditioned to prove that our approach, our knowledge, our intelligence, our action is the right one.
What can you do when you notice others are ‘should-ing’ you? My approach that has worked for me for years is to immediately seek out the alternatives. I may end up coming back to what the person told me I should do, and adopt their approach. But before that I at least carry out the research. I also consider any bias the person ‘should-ing’ me might have. What is behind their ‘should’? What is behind them imposing their perspective on me? Will they benefit financially from me taking on their ‘shoulds’? Is it that they need validation for actions they’ve taken in the past? Is there some other motive for them taking on the role of judge, jury and executioner?
And finally, remember the post I wrote a couple of weeks ago about “Who Are You Listening To?” – it may be time to take that on board and check out whether you’re listening to the right people. It may even be time to switch off the noise and listen to your inner voice so that you can learn to trust your own opinion.
When has somebody else's 'should' got in the way for your business? When have you felt like you're being judged for going your own way?