It’s sometimes difficult to embrace the notion that someone sees room for improvement in us, especially while we’re so bent on doing right. I mediated with someone whose focus on his method for advancement was so consuming that he was oblivious to the (im)personal impact he was having on others while carrying out his job.
The plaintiff inscrutably followed procedures which could have led to his eligibility for promotion, but his employer had a consistent (and documented) history of his problematic interpersonal skills (difficult to manage when he felt his approach was being challenged, aggressive and intimidating communication style, insubordinate).
Employer: Told him this unresolved issue was an impediment to his advancement.
Plaintiff: Indignant. Summarily denied interpersonal issues and insisted that his technical eligibility was the only legitimate factor his boss should be considering. (Ahem.)
Catch-22: The plaintiff’s emotionally filtered perception defined the root of his work stagnation and the barrier to its solution – not to mention reaching a mediated resolution. His emotionally impaired perception was his nemesis at each turn.
Sometimes it’s possible to circumvent the emotionally led lose-lose path by suggesting a check-in with others about the so-called roadblock, but put it this way: Have him ask whether the information could be useful to achieving his goals.
If he’s got someone with him, maybe s/he can be that trusty sounding board.