My amazing husband and I were in the car the other day and he was telling me about his new boss. He is excited to work for her and with her and feels she will offer more support than his previous manager.
He also told me a story about a call he took with a manager who essentially yelled at him for taking a call from home and not being in the office. His manager politely told the other manager that he was off because his wife (me) was having emergency pelvic surgery after a bad fall from her horse. The manager apologized.. but you could tell she was holding assumptions that were simply not true.
This got me thinking about how as leaders we often make assumptions about our team based on what we think or feel or even what we’ve been told by others. Instead of investigating the idea and coming up with our own opinion we make up the story in our head ahead of time and then fail to realize that our story might not be true.
If that manager had asked instead of going right to being angry she would of learned that my husband was taking the call from the surgical waiting room while his wife was in a 6 hour surgery having pins inserted into her pelvis.
As leaders, we need to stop our assuming and make our own ideas. How many times have you taken someone’s word because they are another leader or someone we admire. They tell us that person is bad, or lazy, or bad at their job and we take their word for it.
Instead let’s make our own opinions and stand up for that person! That person might be lazy or bad at their job or maybe there isn’t something going on and we don’t know about it. They could be caring for a sick spouse or child or balancing older parents with the responsibilities of regular life. Why won’t we ask whats going on, share what WE are seeing or feeling and find out what’s going on. Maybe that person was moved to a new job but they don’t really feel it’s a fit. Maybe they don’t realize that they aren’t living up to the expectations of the job and need an adjustment.
Next instead of assuming, let’s take a breath..