Let me be the first to tell you that I’m far from perfect. (This is an understatement)
I’ve screwed up simple situations that most of you would’ve probably handled with more maturity, tact and foresight.
*enter growing pains + embarrassing realizations
I take time to wax introspective on my behavior, my thinking, my values, et cetera…to understand how I managed to make silly mistakes that my friends claim they wouldn’t have made. I mull this over until I’m satisfied and have come to grips with how I screwed up or inadvertently created a negative impression on others. (Please don’t ask why I spend too much time reflecting)
That being said, I’m certain all failing results I’ve been part of aren’t always caused primarily by my deficiencies. Deciding whom to blame is not a productive activity; it’s a waste of time.
However, I’m hoping my insight and reflection will provide perspective that will help others who like to mull things over.
I’ve decided that a lot of times, errors are combinations of misinterpreted facts, emotionally-charged mis-judgements and unnecessary conclusions people make about others.
The problem is, often times we tend to think our abilities to decipher and decode human behavior are a gazillion times better than they actually are. Sadly, we are only wasting our time when we sit and analyze others’ actions to try and determine WHY they behave the way they do.
Fact is, people’s motivations change all the time. Even if you pinpoint another’s motives and intentions, they aren’t helpful. For instance, if you’re someone’s boss, then your role requires you reduce risk by assessing others’ behaviors to predict their future behaviors – not judge your direct’s value as an individual.
Again, motivations will probably change. Behavioral tendencies will less likely change that much.
A. Needless to say, a person who believes he/she has the natural Freudian acumen and capacity (and time) to analyze enough behavioral data to comprehend others’ intentions is ineffective.
Again, ineffective. Why?
- you’re not Freud.
- you’re not smart enough to make those conclusions.
- you don’t know the person’s background (even if you do dig and waste time and resources to find background information about a person)
- you’re not in the person’s head.
- Your conclusions don’t matter and will probably won’t contribute to your overall purpose.
B. Many people attach their emotional response to others’ behaviors and consider it in their analysis of the individual. This leads to inaccurate assessments and relationship problems.
For example, some people (ahem) tend to be more assertive than others. This is fact. We all have different behavioral tendencies.
For instance, some may talk more quickly, occasionally interrupt you while your speaking, etc… However, these behaviors are not done to offend or hurt others’ feelings. They are merely tendencies that are emotionally neutral (most of the time in a professional environment). The person speaking often does not consider it an affront to behave more assertively than you. It is merely part of their behavioral inclinations as an individual.
*enter behavioral diversity – What a concept!
C. As you can see, this could be a big problem at the workplace.
For example, if a “boss” takes offense to his/her direct’s behavioral tendencies then decides said person is “rude”, “disrespectful”, etc… it will create a culture that shuts out good ideas and good people.
A person who decides another is “disrespectful” vs. considering that the person’s behavior is “different” from what is familiar to themselves is focused on judgement and is not separating fact from emotion. Attaching these labels on people is not productive, correct, professional or a good technique for effective collaboration.
Why not create less conflict by understanding that people each have their own behavioral tendencies and spend less time figuring out why the person who offended you is less ____________ than you?
That way, you can productively help improve others’ behaviors to achieve the outcomes you mutually desire without creating discomfort between one another? What do you think?