It’s My Way or the Highway

I travel a great deal and was admiring this courtyard when two other people came over to see what I was seeing. The first person sounded frustrated and made a comment about how the landscaping crew had failed to clean up for the day. They noted how annoyed they would be if they were that person’s boss and how they would let the grounds crew know how much they had fallen down on the job. The second person just stared at them in amazement. They told us that they thought the courtyard looked lovely and very much appreciated that the leaves were in a natural state that they could enjoy. They were encouraged by the chaos of the freshly fallen leaves and hoped that they could see it this same way later in the afternoon.

Holy Cow! Two people could not have reacted to the same scene any more differently. One saw it as a major let down and the other only saw beauty. We ended up having a great conversation about knowing who you are with in order to understand their expectations and reactions. As both of these people were managers you can only imagine the challenges they might experience in dealing with team and people dynamics.

No matter how much it annoys us, people are all different. It would be great if we could use one swipe of a single brush to resolve or handle all problems, but with people one size does not fit all. It is up to us to get to know people and understand if they enjoy the chaos of fallen leaves or simply see it as another to do item to get accomplished before a certain time of day.

It is when we forget to try and understand people that confusion turns into failed communication and more often than not turns into annoyances and conflict. Taking a few moments to hear and understand the other person’s perspective will go a long way towards developing respect and trust. The old ‘my way of the highway’ mindset doesn’t really work well when dealing with people. It takes wisdom to know when to let go of your own needs in order to let someone else enjoy the chaos of fallen leaves; clean up the area tomorrow in order to allow them to have their scenic view today.

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