Wednesday, August 14, 2013

People Are Different

You have read about this week's eye gash and trip to the doctor so you can picture a bit of the little (adorable) Tasmanian Devil I live with. But his reaction to this week has reminded me of a very important principle we all forget on a daily basis.  People are different and they react to things differently. 

I'm not talking about the differences between raising "snips and snails" boys and "sugar and spice" girls.  This is far more basic and relates to the lens of our preferences and life experiences through which we view everything that happens to us and those around us. 

Take, for example, a head bump so bad that the gash needed liquid stitches. If this had happened to me I would have, pardon my frankness, milked it for all it was worth. Not in a lazy way or a "poor me" way, but in a "I really need to just take it easy" way. How does my little boy react?  I have no idea. There hasn't been a single slow down, whimper, or change in behavior. Had I kept him home and "pampered" him the way I would have WANTED someone to do for me he would have been bored to the point of crankiness. (He really loves time at school with his friends.)

But yet, so often in life and in the workplace we try to "help" people or judge their actions based on the lens through which we see their situation.  How often do we make things worse, as I would have with my son, by doing that. As a new-ish mother I have come to terms with not knowing and often watch for his reactions and move forward accordingly. But in the workplace we often feel pressured to know what to do and react quickly. 

I challenge you when working with co-workers today to hold back on actions, judgements, and opinions until you have observed, analyzed, and considered other possible lenses through which to view the situation. What did you learn?  How did others react?  How can this approach help you long term?