Bad habits develop overtime in relationships and teams. Let’s face it, laziness and complacency set in, and tensions and conflicts fester unresolved. Less energy and time are put into cultivating the trust and respect necessary for all successful relationships, and instead bad behavior ensues; gossip, back talk, sabotage, insubordination, judging, blame and finger pointing, disrespect, name calling…you get the picture. Good behavior falls to the wayside, and relationships and teams become dysfunctional, ineffective, less productive and hurtful.
How can it be fixed? The solution is simple. Get back to basics; those lessons we learned as children that we’ve forgotten as adults.
Do unto to others as you would have them do unto you!
Are you treating people they way you want to? Are you getting treated the way you want to? Perhaps it started out that way, but at some point in time things went sideways, and now you are caught up in a downward spiral of tension and conflict. It’s an easy fix; start treating people the way you want to be treated, no matter how they treat you. That’s right, I said it. No matter how they treat you. Too often we feel justified in treating others poorly because we feel disrespected or mistreated. Come on, you remember, it doesn’t matter how it started (or who threw sand at who first); you can turn things around by following the Golden Rule! Remember (cliché alert): the best defense is a good offense, kill them with kindness, and turn other cheek.
What goes around comes around!
Karma is a bitch! And not the good empowered kind, but the regretful embarrassing kind. Even if you feel justified, engaging in bad behavior is only going to come back to bite you (you know where). At the end of the day, we are all accountable for own behavior. Perhaps you’ve been pushed or provoked, the reasons don’t matter; you either choose to succumb to it or rise above it. If others aren’t doing the right thing, let them sink their own ship. Smile in the face of frustration, rise above petty gossip and complaining, and be the bigger person.
If you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything at all!
It goes without saying that the only potential benefit that comes from complaining, name calling, and gossip is a temporary relief of your own frustration. In actuality, it paints a poor picture of both you and the target of your frustration. That’s right…YOU! People may listen and nod, even participate, but the longer and more adamant you are about someone else’s shortcomings, the more apparent yours are. Remember if someone is willing to gossip with you, they’re willing to gossip about you.
If you have something to say, say it to my face (Ok, maybe a 2nd cousin)!
When problems arise it is important to take it to the source; conflict cannot be resolved by sharing it with a third party. The day to day challenges and miscommunications will only escalate if they aren’t addresses in a timely, respectful, and professional manner. Rather than face conflict and take the time to resolve it, we blow it off and store it in the treasure chest of faults (of whoever it is you’re in conflict with). Then, the next time there is a conflict, our reactions are based upon all the conflicts we’ve stored in the treasure chest and not the matter at hand. As conflict escalates so does the need to vent; resulting in third party relief. And you know how it goes, you talk to one friend, they talk to one friend, and so on, and so on, and so on. And in the end, nothing has been resolved, and the only thing that has been achieved is discrediting another person and escalating the conflict. It takes more energy to be angry and frustrated, than open and patient; see my posting on the Awareness Wheel for an effective way to communicate and resolve conflict.
Live and let live!
We all want to be accepted and validated for who we are, and be appreciated for our individual gifts and talents. This requires us to accept others without judgment and find strategies to adapt to others individual gifts and talents AND shortcomings. We can’t say I know people are different, and then get frustrated when people aren’t like us and require acceptance and flexibility. In fact, respecting difference (of any kind) requires adaptability, respect, patience, open mindedness, curiosity, and an ability to see things from multiple perspectives. Some people may never change, but you can.
Now clearly, none of this is new; but a good reminder of what we know and often forget to apply. If you value your relationship or team at all, take the time to let go of old bad habits, and practice old good habits.
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