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Ask Lawrence: How to not be a hot head

01 Apr 13:00 By Lawrence Akers


Let’s be realistic here; we ALL are going to have people we need to work with - either on a day to day basis or on a freelance basis - that may have us feeling frustrated, annoyed, or anxious.


Vague briefs, moving goal posts and misinterpretation are inevitably going to occur at some points and can lead people to feel that it all could’ve been handled differently.


When that happens, it isn’t uncommon for some people to allow their annoyance to show - we are all human after all - however in a professional setting, this isn’t going to win you any favours.


Even worse, it may tarnish your reputation and impact on future opportunities.  In the creative space, it is often well connected and people know people.  Ultimately, you would want to be able to ensure you remain professional at all times, even when those you’re working with are not.


So what do you do when you recognise that you’re feeling that level of frustration rising and you know that you need to reign things back under control?


Watch your language


Regardless of if you are communicating in person, over the phone or via email, your language is going to be the obvious indicator of your own state of mind.


While it might feel like letting them know via a direct or implied tone that you’re unhappy, your goal should really be about stepping up to be the bigger person and assisting in getting everything back on the same page.


A real leader is never going to sit around attributing blame.


If you can notice that you have a tone coming up that is blaming and aggressive, then you are best to take a step back, address that with yourself, and then step forward when you’re ready to explore what needs to happen to get everyone on the same page.


I know this sounds easier than what it might actually be - and that sometimes is the case - but you’re going to win credibility if you’re coming from a place of ‘I want to be part of fixing this’ over a place of ‘this is distressing and I need a bottle of gin just to deal with the last email that was sent to me.’


If it is a freelance assignment and you’re going through a recruitment agency, it is better for you to call your consultant and express your concern than to take it out on the client.  At least that way, the recruiter is across the issues that are happening and can support you with further discussions with the client.


Getting on the same page


When it comes to getting on the same page, it is often about acknowledging that there appears to be some gaps in the communication and perhaps it might be a good idea to quickly ensure we’re all on the same page together in terms of goals, objectives and time frame.


While others might see this as an inconvenience, it is really in their best interest as well as showing that you are taking this work seriously and that you want to deliver the best results.


As with before, if this is a freelance assignment and it is through a recruitment agency, then call your recruiter and let them know what is going on.  Chances are they will call the client and talk through the concerns.


Breath, it will be ok.


If you are worked up, take a step back and a moment to recompose yourself if necessary.  Don’t ever react to the issue when you’re angry or annoyed.  Give yourself a moment to calm down, and then that the time to respond to their concerns.


Remember, there is a difference between being reactive and being responsive.  You want to be able to respond in a way that shows you’re a professional even when you feel they may not be.