My husband shared this article with me. Probably because it reminded him of vacation with my French family and how frustrating it can be to figure out what is actually going on. And while the article is about personal life communication, the same dynamic happens at work: our beliefs about how things are supposed to be, the “shoulds” drive so much of how we operate and can be a major source of discord.
One example: maybe in your family you were taught that it is impolite to interrupt, so you tend to be quiet in meetings. To someone more vocal, sharing their opinion is a sign of forthrightness. Both good intentions. Yet as the quiet person, you may see the vocal person’s occasional interruption as rude. On the flip side, the vocal person might see silence as an unwillingness to participate, or as an attempt to hide information.
When these perspectives and beliefs are so foundational and subtle, what can we do? There is no easy answer, but it begins with awareness. For a change, it begins with awareness of others. Whether it’s Myers-Briggs, Social Style, Strengths Finder or another assessment, it is so normal to focus on ourselves! My suggestion here is to focus on the other types or styles. Get familiar with them. Then, think of someone who you occasionally (or often) struggle with. If you were to give them the benefit of the doubt using these assessments, what positive intent could you assign to their behavior? Working backwards, if their intention is good, what insights can you gain about how your beliefs are impacting the situation. Is there an opportunity to let go? What could the texture of the work day be like if it were a little bit more peaceful?
If you are not already signed up for tomorrow’s Discovering Your Vision workshop, please join me. Knowing what you want and what gives your work meaning is the first step towards shaping your life at work. You can register HERE.