When last did you jump to conclusions about someone? When you had already made assumptions about a particular person, their actions, values, or history before discovering the facts about their situation and who they really are?
This is normal human behaviour, however if we do this often it can become a habit with bad consequences. If we close ourselves off to first listening and learning, and stick to our pre-conceived story or impression of a person, we limit ourselves and our opportunities.
For example, one of your team members is extremely late for work. You have concluded that they have slept in due to a big night out, a lack of responsibility and laziness, and that they won’t be in great shape when they do arrive. How do you feel right now and how do you feel about them? Probably quite cheesed off and that’s being kind. When they arrive at the office how do you treat them? Do you give them the cold shoulder or do you jump down their throat?
If this has happened to you, how did it work out? You may have been lucky and the situation worked out according to the script in your head, however you may have been completely off-base and landed up with egg on your face and a disappointed employee.
If you had listened to understand, instead of making assumptions, you would have discovered the real reasons for your employee’s behaviour. There could have been a huge traffic accident with a road closure, or a genuine family emergency, or another manager may have authorised for that person to have a late start and forgot to inform you.
Regularly jumping to conclusions like this will obviously cause negative results in your business, especially when your team members interact with you. Be smart and gather the facts first, and then decide on your reaction. Not the other way around.
As a business owner, learn to be open, to listen and to think. You might be correct in your assumptions and initial conclusion. The employee may be a lazy-bones and potential risk to your business, but by showing that you want to gather all of the facts before reacting, you show your team and colleagues that you are empathetic, patient and understanding.
Rather make an educated decision, which won’t bite you in the butt, than land up with disengaged and disgruntled employees.
Is this something you struggle with? Need some assistance? Contact me firstname.lastname@example.org for professional business coaching.