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HUMAN NATURE AT WORK

Lest you think we all walk into work each day plotting to do terrible and stupid things, here are some things to chew on.

  1. We are all flawed.  No one, not even you, is perfect.  Cut others (and yourself) some slack for just being human.
  2. Most of us wake up each day and say, “I’m going to do some good stuff today.”  Very few of us are thinking, “I’m going to mess shit up today.”  So don’t project such ill-intent on others.
  3. We say we want change but what we mean is for everyone else to change.  We are creatures of habit and making change is hard for most of us.  So when we say, “Geez, things really need to change around here” we don’t mean ourselves.
  4. It’s really hard to keep our nose out of other people’s business at work.  We evaluate the quality of someone’s work, the motives of their behavior, what they are thinking and what they ought to be doing.  Some of us will say this stuff out loud while most of us have amusing conversations in our head.  Either way it is not a good use of time.  We can’t possibly have enough ESP to get inside of someone’s head.
  5. “Constructive conflict” is a nice thought but rarely achieved.  Very few human beings are adept enough at addressing conflict to turn those moments into productive dialogues with amazing solutions.  For us normal folks there are a few usual responses to conflict.  We either get very hostile, aggressive, demanding…even hurtful.  Or we run for the hills, get passive, avoid it at all costs.  And then there is the passive aggressive approach of covertly, manipulatively undermining and back stabbing.  None of these are useful.  So try to find a way to not freak out when there are disagreements.
  6. We want to be told Why after we’ve been told What by our leaders.  And we rarely appreciate being told How.  We’re adults, thank you very much.
  7. We all want to be praised…even if we say otherwise.
  8. If we don’t have enough or reliable information we will make shit up to fill in the gaps.  And whatever we make up is usually way worse than whatever the reality is.  So, whenever possible, leaders need to give more (not less) information.
  9. Work groups can sometimes feel like a tribe on Survivor.  Alliances are made and then some are broken.  There are high minded people and others that will do whatever it takes to get ahead.  Most people will think their idea is the best one.  And if the tribe is left to run amok they will begin to vote team members off the island.  So managers, do your job.
  10. Everyone has a story…and it’s pretty interesting.  The more we know each others’ stories the more we form a good relationship.  The more we invest in a good relationship the better our collaboration is.  So find out more about your co-workers.
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