I was listening to an Elvis tribute programme on the radio last week and they played a song of his that I had not heard before entitled “Walk a mile in my shoes” written by Joe South. The lyrics of the song have stayed with me during the week and has made me consider how good we are at seeing things from other people’s perspective and whether we consciously try to understand other people’s points of view and why they behave in a certain way or make certain decisions.
It is very easy to make a judgement about someone when we first meet them or first hear someone talk about them or once we get to know them if they suddenly change in some way. We use a range of cues to assist us often visual, e.g. their appearance, degree of self-confidence, mannerisms, tone of voice, or body language and our intuition is affected by our past experiences with others who may have behaved in a similar manner. Once we have made such an evaluation we often take a lot of persuading to change our minds. Have you ever sprung to criticise someone before you have taken the time to understand their point of view? How often have you gossiped or commented about a work colleague’s erratic behaviour or said something inappropriate to them that you later regret when you find out that they have had a recent bereavement in the family or are going through another kind of personal problem?
It is so important for all of us to take the time to mentally walk in “their” shoes, understand what pressures they are under and why these concerns could be affecting their work performance. As managers we need to work with them to find ways to deal with or resolve these issues when they arise. Remember with your management team YOGOWYPI – you only get out what you put in!