Assume the Beast

31 Jan
by Bridget DiCello

As the leader, you focus on seeing the best and acknowledging the strengths in each of the people on your team.  At that same time, you also have to realize that they each have weaknesses, challenges, and things they are not good at. When someone on your team does something that is irresponsible or inappropriate, make sure you respond after you separate their intentions from impact they have.  

Just because they messed up on a process, does not mean they were not focused, didn’t care, or were not paying attention to what is important. They may have a weakness in their skill set that caused them to make that error, despite their best intentions.

Knowing the weaknesses of each of your team members will allow you to coach them to improved performance instead of solely being disappointed with their mistake. If someone is a perfectionist with little tact, you need to coach them on how to be more effective, instead of being frustrated and disappointed in their lack of tact.

When you “assume the beast”, you acknowledge that even good employees have areas where they are weak, and you must assume their very best intentions despite their mistakes.

Are they complaining because they are unhappy with you? Or are they complaining to cover up their lack of confidence, and frustration with the situation? As a leader, your assumption about why they are doing what they are doing has a significant impact on not only your reaction to them, but your desire and ability to coach them ongoing to improve performance.

When you find yourself frustrated with what one of your employees has done, take a moment of Opportunity Space before you respond to think about the weaknesses that person has, empathize with their struggles and coach them through that part of who they are to greater levels of performance and success.

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