Today’s blog is the fourth part of a multi-blog series addressing how challenges faced during upbringing can affect your conflict pattern and business relationships today.

5 Signs You Are A Distractor …

1. You have a fun sense of humor

You have a way of bringing levity to difficult situations through your wit and playfulness. You can making a boring job, fun.

2. You use sarcasm

Instead of speaking directly about the topic at hand, you use sarcasm. What you say may have a hint of truth to it. Listeners may laugh however, they also may misinterpret your comments or be turned off by what you say.

3. You bring up things that are irrelevant

Sometimes you bring take a conversation off track on purpose through humor) to diffuse tension and other times you don’t realize you are doing it. Whether intended or not, you are not addressing the main point of the conversation.

4. You are on the move

You may have a tough time sitting still and have been told you wear others out through your energy. It may be hard for you to concentrate because your mind and your body are going in different directions.

5. You are deeply sensitive, but it doesn’t show

You cover up your tender side and may even feel lonely inside. You feel like you matter when you make people laugh or get attention. Even negative attention is better than no attention at all.

Influence from Family Upbringing

Brad was the youngest of five children. As a child, he had been extremely sick and almost didn’t live. Because of this, his parents were extremely protective of him and watched his every move. After a major surgery, his health improved, but his parent’s remained cautious of allowing him to participate in typical childhood activities like running or sports that his siblings enjoyed.

Though his physical activities were limited, Brad learned to use humor to make light of his situation. He saw the smile his jokes brought to his mother’s face whose fear of something happening to him was palpable. His siblings would join Brad’s playfulness. Seriousness in the home was replaced with merriment that renewed the family’s spirit. At least temporarily.

Brad’s health continued to improve, but another family crisis occurred when his parent’s divorced. Again, Brad tapped into his wit to make his family laugh despite a very difficult time.

Taking Coping Styles From Upbringing To Adulthood

Fast forward into adulthood, Brad’s health is stable and he is known for his humor. He found a niche in the sales field and gained recognition for his skills and sales record. He was recruited to be a Sales Director and his employees referred to him as a “fun boss”.

Things were rolling along nicely until the demands of leadership began taking a toll. Now Brad was not just responsible for his own sales, but also for those of his employees. He was an excellent salesman, his humor helped him to succeed, but those same skills didn’t translate to motivating his staff. When Brad got pressure from his superiors about the decline of sales in his division, his “go to” humorous response of handling tense conversations didn’t work. His boss took his jokes as not taking job responsibilities seriously and undermining his effectiveness as a leader.

“I am always ready to learn although I do not always like being taught.” – Winston Churchill

Unable to maintain the sales quota for his division, Brad was fired from his job. This time when facing tough times, he decided to do something different. He allowed himself to face the realities of his situation without minimizing the emotional pain associated with his job loss. Through a process of self-awareness and inner growth, he learned when to use humor and when to be serious. He also learned how he used humor to cover up insecurities and as a way of cajoling to ease tension.

How Does Distracting Impact Business Relationships?

Distracting can come in many forms besides humor. It is anything that takes the focus off of the issue at hand, such as when something that is irrelevant to the conversation becomes the focus. Other examples include sarcasm, cynicism, or excuses. Distracting can also show up by finding someone in the office to blame as the scapegoat for problems in order to not address the real issue or problem employee.

If you resonate with any of these examples of distracting, know that it could be affecting your work culture and credibility. Employees or co-workers may not take you seriously and unknowingly you may be undermining your leadership.

While everyone likes a good laugh and wants work to be enjoyable, the timing of a joke or bringing up unrelated topics can be viewed as distasteful or inappropriate. Coaching could be the solution to help you work through tense situations without taking the conversation off track.

Make the Conscious Choice to be aware of the timing of humor and keeping conversations on course