Merge's Blog

Insensitive behaviour is often driven by good intentions

In the last few weeks, significant life transition events have made me unusually introspective, perhaps even philosophical. Some may say that it’s not a bad thing, and they’re probably right 🙂 .

good intentionsOne of the things I’ve noticed is that people often say and do stupid things. And I’ve come to the awareness that, generally, their insensitive behaviour is not malicious or intentionally hurtful. I’ve come to understand that other people usually mean well. The truth is that people, for the most part, do the best with the resources they’ve got. Sometimes they have access to minimal emotional and mental resources, and that can cause them to make asinine comments and/or take mindless actions, but at its core, their intentions are almost always good.

Perhaps my greatest realization has been that getting upset and angry at these people is useless, as is telling them (at any length) that they’re wrong. It’s far more effective to focus on how to harness those good intentions. It’s immensely more positive to tap into those good intentions and ask for help – perhaps with a specific task that needs to get done, or with a specific role that needs to be fulfilled.

What do you think? Is there a lesson here for our lives as workplace leaders? Is this a good rule to live by – that other people (staff, peers, bosses) usually mean well? Or do you think that I have my head in the clouds? Your thoughts appreciated, particularly as they relate to workplace relationships. Add your Comment below.

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