When I am reversing the car, Margaret my wife sitting in the passenger seat, helps me by looking to the left and right. For years I have gently moved Margaret back so I can see the traffic for myself.
When Margaret is reversing I am leaning right back in the passenger seat enabling her to see the traffic.
Aware that my behaviour was different to hers, one day I asked Margaret what runs for her when I lean back. She replied
“I don’t understand why you don’t help me when I help you.”
This is an excellent example of how conflict can come from goodwill. People who think they are getting it right but actually getting it wrong.
In leaning back I am trying to communicate I trust you to drive, you are competent. One of the biggest compliments in my world, is to say, you are competent.
What is being heard is one of the worst things Margaret can hear which is you don’t care. Is it any wonder we have trouble in our relationships?
This is tragic. Why? Because the goodwill is there. If I didn’t care it would have mattered less. But I was caring. I wanted to show it, but I fell into the hot chilli trap … treating others as I want to be treated rather than as they want to be treated. Just because I love hot chilli doesn’t mean that everyone else also loves hot chilli. I am not the norm. I need to treat others as they need to be treated, rather than as I want to be treated.
Many managers fall into the ‘hot chilli trap’, treating others as they need to be treated rather than as their people need to be treated. If you delegate, listen, present, give feedback in ways that are right for you, you are likely to be getting it wrong for two thirds of the people in your life.
Ill-informed goodwill can hurt your business.
“It is not that one view is right and the other wrong. It is that both views matter.”
Other stories written by Shay McConnon:
- Use this simple technique to influence and persuade
- The Power of Silence
- Unwrap the sweet paper
- It’s a pity we speak the same language, because we don’t!