We all take a position in the way we live our lives. It isn't something that we consciously do, minute by minute, it's how we evolve as we live through the experiences from our earliest days after our birth.
The things that happen to us day-by-day - every day of our lives - shape who we are. Within this we take positions that impact on our behaviors, in every moment, right now.
So, we all have a perspective on life that we show up with in the things we do. We do as managers; our customers do and we must not forget that every single one of our employees has their own story too.
That presents us with a series of problems when we attempt to build relationships with our people:
- 1. We have our own perceptions that shows up in our behaviors
- 2. We have our own perceptions which judge others
- 3. Our own behaviors (from our perceptions) cause others to amend their behaviors
- 4. This can lead to different and even more incorrect perceptions
- 1. They have their own perceptions of life and work that show up in their behaviors
- 2. Their own perceptions amend their behaviors away from what would be real
- 3. Their perceptions are used to judge others
- 4. Their own perceptions cause behaviors in them that cause you to adjust your behaviors
...and so on!
So that becomes a challenge when we create relationships with our employees, because we have perceptions about them that can, unless we are careful, be false. Perceptions potentially causing erroneous decisions that can affect our abilities to create win-win outcomes for both sides.
Our experiences lead us to make perceptions of our circumstances. When we're with our people, they can be incorrectly judged because of times when we had similar experiences that we learned from. We then use that experience to be too quick off the mark as we use our perceptions to make decisions.
So it is important when we work with our employees, that we make the effort to set aside perceptions that don't come with actual proof, so that the relationships we build have the chance to develop and grow.
When we are able to set aside the often false perceptions we have of our people - even those we seem to get on well with - the opportunities that fall out of the relationships we have with them, have every chance of being the win-win that we want.
Martin Haworth is an experienced UK-based coach and trainer with TNM Coaching, working worldwide with enlightened organisations who see the light in leadership and management development.