Other People’s Poor Behavior

Posted Leave a commentPosted in We=All Who Matter
Reading time: 2 min.

We often fall into the trap of making up stories to explain other people’s poor behavior. Here is a small sampling:

  • “He didn’t return my email because he thinks I am a pest.”
  • “They are really very political. They will stab you in the back as soon as you turn around.”
  • “She can’t handle the demands of this office and her home life. That’s why she’s struggling.”
  • “My boss doesn’t let me speak up in meetings because she wants to take all the credit for the ideas.”
  • “He’s that way because he is not a people person.”
  • “That guy gets exactly nothing done week-to-week. He’s lazy and is just waiting for a package.”
  • “He’s gunning for her job. That’s why he’s making all this noise now in these meetings.”

These stories do us harm because they are false. We simply have no way of knowing the inner life, thoughts, and dreams of any of the rest of us. Our made-up stories likely will cause friction and missed opportunities as we judge, misunderstand, and underestimate each other. Heck, sometimes even calling their behavior “poor” can get in the way.

If we really need to know what’s driving another’s behavior, let’s ask them. Otherwise, let’s be wary of these stories. Address the behavior and avoid the stories.


In your corner,



Today’s photo credit: afsart via photopin cc


You Simply Can’t Know

Posted Leave a commentPosted in We=All Who Matter
Reading time: 2 min.

We often are baffled by other people’s behavior. And we rush to ascribe the causes. Yet in trying to figure out why she did this or he did that, we frequently end up misjudging them.

The truth is that we simply can’t know for sure what makes another person tick. (No, not even the people who are closest to us.) We cannot tell all that drives them, how they see themselves and the world, and who they are going to become tomorrow.

When we see another doing something we don’t understand, let’s pause instead of rushing to explain, judge. Let’s quietly honor them, celebrate them. They will notice the difference. When they do, we will have opened the doors to deeper collaboration, fun, and win-win results.


In your corner,


PS: We can learn enough, though, to become effective bosses, employees, partners, or co-workers. We can become better friends, more supportive family members, and better caring mates. Without needing to know or judge why, let’s understand their preferred ways of dealing with people, tasks, and information. Let’s look for evidence of their talents and the things they value. And let’s tune our approach to engage and collaborate more effectively with them.


Today’s photo credit: esti via photopin cc

One Way to Change Another

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Leading, We=All Who Matter
Reading time: 1

Changing another’s behavior is tricky. We know because we tend to resist others who try to change us.

Here’s one way that usually works, though.

  • Learn what they need, want, or desire.
  • Ask permission to share your insights.
  • Tell them what you notice of their behavior that takes them away from what they need, want, desire.
  • Brainstorm with them how they might modify their behavior to get what they want.
  • Show them that you think they can do it.


In your corner,

PS: Where, you may ask, is the part about getting them to do what you want them to do? It’s right there. Help them get what they want in the context of your work together and you will see your desired results, too.

Today’s photo credit: rAmmoRRison via photopin cc