How We See Others

As a leader, how do you see your group? Not as a group, but as individuals.

Do you see them as hard working, dedicated, intelligent people? Or as lazy, slothful, needing constant supervision people?

I had a job once where I could get more done working from home than coming to the office. My boss said, “Well, as long as you’re working.” I thought, “Sheesh, no one puts out more work than I do, and he makes that comment.”

This phrase just popped up in my reading, “Your perception of me is a reflection of you.”

If you are looking at the team you are leading as a bunch of people you can’t trust to do their work. Maybe the problem really is you. Maybe you know that you’d like to slack off and are suspicious of others who might.

There was a story about a man traveling the back roads of the Midwest in the early 20th Century. He came across a farmer. He stopped and asked, “What sort of people live around here?”

“Well, what sort of people lived where you are from?”

“They were a lying, thieving bunch of people.”

“Well, I guess you’ll find people here about the same.”

A second traveler came by later and stopped. Asked the same question. The farmer asked what sort of people there were where he was from. “Honest, hardworking, trustworthy people,” came the response.

“Well, I guess you’ll find the people around here to be about the same.”

It is a great story pointing out that our perceptions are often colored by our emotions, thoughts, and opinions. We see what we want to see.

When I’ve dealt with people as a leader, whether as a parent or manager, I always just have this expectation, usually unstated but clear by insinuation, that people will live up to being what they were meant to be. I expect the best for other people.

When you deal with others, how do you view them? If the results are not forthcoming, perhaps a good look in a mirror is in order. Change your attitude toward others and watch how their attitude changes.

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