“…we must look at the lens through which we see the world, as well as at the world we see, and that the lens itself shapes how we interpret the world.” (Covey)
Whenever I read this quote It always makes me think of all the times that I have made assumptions or jumped to conclusions. I probably do this on a daily basis in some small way. For example, making dinner half hour later than planned because Daddy is never home on time! These small assumptions Don’t do too much damage unless consistently assumed, for example, Daddy just comes home half hour later than planned now because he knows dinner won’t be ready!
It’s when we make a big assumption that people can get hurt. I work with a lady who is always making silly errors and saying the wrong thing. She doesn’t think before she speaks and she is seen by many as a bit of an embarrassment. I have known this lady many years and the truth is that she has a heart of gold. Most of the errors she makes are because she is so scared of being blamed when anything goes wrong. Unfortunately over the years she has become a bit of a scapegoat. I’m not perfect I have even jumped to conclusions about her, I run finances where I work and if there are ever errors, I admit, I have made wrong assumptions. It frightens me when there is such negativity in a staff team that it is very easy to get sucked into it in order to fit in.
This scenario made me uneasy in myself and I started noting my reactions when interacting with her and those around her. I decided to be the better person and stop making judgements because you never truly know someone else’s situation. I started acting with integrity and speaking up for her when she wasn’t present. If she did make mistakes or say the wrong thing I would take her aside and explain things to her in a calm way. I’m pleased to say that others soon followed suit. It is so important to remember that by leading by example we can make such a difference even in the most negative situations.
As Stephen Covey so eloquently puts it…
“Our paradigms correct or incorrect are the sources of our attitudes and behaviours, and ultimately our relationships with others.”
All quotes are taken from ‘7 Habits of Highly Effective People’ by Stephen Covey.