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Assuming Good Intent

I'll admit that's a tough one for me in perfect times--certainly a developmental need that I've tried to work on for most of my professional career. But I don't always succeed here--maybe it's having been burned too many times or being naive to a political situation in the office. But for whatever reason, too often I don't stop, take a breath, or even walk away from the computer before I respond.

Having had a few weeks to work at home now has started to help me as a leader do better here, and I think there's good applicability for leaders everywhere as we struggle with the open-endedness of our current COVID-19 working environment.

I miss Calvin and Hobbs...

Since most of our messages are on email and Slack or text, it's easy to not get the context of a note, not understand tone or tenor, or why they're asking for something in the first place. And too often it's also easy to assume something different than the sender is intending, or even to respond too quickly and take the bait and get into a row online. Not a good look.

So I'm trying to practice taking a breath, getting up and walking away, and even letting some messages sit--even overnight--before I come back to them. I'm finding that even doing some quick breathing exercises and realizing that whatever incoming messages I'm getting are just that, they don't require an immediate response, that I'm being a better leader and manager.

Some messages I just don't respond to and they fade away. Others get a better response from me because I've had a chance to think and reflect, not just fire off a snarky note to push them back across the line.

It doesn't always work and I'm myself a work in progress, but these challenging times are hopefully helping me to undo some of the "own goals" that I've committed in the past by not taking a minute and seeing things from the other person's point of view.

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