Paying attention to the little details and subtle nuances has been quite a challenge for me these past weeks!

My real-estate project manager is having a 2-week vacation and as a result I have had a double workload with critical project deadlines.

One practical example – under time pressure, details in construction can easily be overlooked and this can result in extra work and cost later on. 🙁 This week we closed one restaurant for 14 days to remove a concrete staircase and transfer the kitchen there instead. When preparing for this work, we discovered some constructional difficulties that forced us to change the initial plans. 🙁

Further time was needed to draw a new solution but the starting date could not be easily shifted as all the customers had already been notified and the staff sent on a planned vacation!

So on the second day we were having a meeting to discuss the new situation and the main contractor said:

”This is mission impossible! It will require 4-5 weeks to finish this job!“

I felt anger surface, as this was not what I wanted to hear! Besides which, I had the feeling that the new circumstances were not the only cause of this extended time frame. Such a feeling surfacing for me indicated that this construction detail overview should have already been started during the planning phase.

So I expressed my anger and quite naturally, for me, found that this helped me to find the clarity I needed, anger being the emotion that indicates a desire for clarity.

With that clarity and to ensure all details were taken care of, I drafted a new plan by working backwards from the finish to the present moment. Well, at least on paper we could still keep the deadline! 🙂

Somehow the tensions around the conflict shifted and we started having a lot of fun and black humor on how we would work on this project. 🙂

I have a good feeling that I am able to laugh at myself under stressful situations and somehow all this experience brings new value into my relationships. It does not really matter if we will be able to keep the deadline or not at the end of the day, but how I go through this experience together with the team.

Something I still need to work on is that I also registered blame when I was getting angry – and this is not the only time I have noticed such a pattern! Even though I may or may not verbalise that blame, it still has relevance as it links back to the male myth that “men must not cry”, which in essence means that the male cannot be help-less.

While I am not exactly sure about the order of these emotions, I suspect that when I see helpless behaviour reflected back to me in the mirror of another, I first want to duck and dive that mirror (blame) – and at the same time I become angry at myself, either because of blaming (which is also a version of helplessness) or because of taking “responsibility” (martyr) where it is not needed – and then feeling that I am failing this responsibility (again helplessness).

Work in progress. 🙂

Rein Lemberpuu
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