Start From Where The Other Person Is
November 15, 2023
A couple of weeks ago, a colleague handed me some work that I felt was below par, and I let my frustration show.
Reflecting on the incident, I questioned whether my anger would truly motivate my colleague to improve his work next time.
If his subpar performance were due to apathy, then perhaps my anger might be justified. However, here’s the point. Poor work output is rarely because of lack of care or seriousness. It’s usually because of a misunderstanding or a skill gap. In which case, it would have been more helpful if I asked questions to clarify and figure out why there was a mismatch between the quality I was expecting and what got delivered.
As I contemplate my reaction, I wonder why I didn’t take a more constructive approach. The answer is simple—Like anyone else, when I am angry, I respond with anger. When I am frustrated, I respond with frustration. It makes perfect sense.
To do better, I guess, It all comes down to being mindful and asking myself two crucial questions when I encounter a similar situation.
- What’s going on for the other person?
- What can I do or say to help them?
I shouldn’t start from where I am but start from where the other person is. What do they need in that moment? Some advice? A story about what I did in a similar situation? Perhaps just an empathetic ear? Or maybe simply some patience.