I have seldom stopped to think: What goes into making a choice? What thought process do I go through to decide the best course of action? Research, talking to others who have taken similar actions, trial and error, deciding not to do a particular thing right now, breaking it down into smaller decisions. All of these can be part of making a particular choice.
When we’re in the midst of intense work, critically thinking about any of these things can go right out the window. Today we played ultimate frisbee against a couple of teams we don’t play against often. Some of the ways a few people were running seemed, at least in mind, a little bit dangerous which I thought could lead to unnecessary contact. This was my perception. I felt I was right to point it out, hopefully to ensure dangerous contact didn’t happen. This was a choice made from past experience of similar situations. I chose to point it out early in the day so there was opportunity for players to think about it and change their play if necessary.
Thinking back, even just a few hours later, I think there were probably better ways I could have handled the situation. The perception that players were running potentially dangerous lines was my perspective. I may have been the only one to have this perspective and everyone else was ok with the closeness of other players around them. Keeping an open mind and talking to others about my thoughts before taking action may have helped me broach the subject more effectively with the players I wanted to. I am certain no player was choosing to move unsafely around the court on purpose, but the way I chose to approach conversation may have led others to believe I thought they were playing intentionally unsafely.
I have found myself similar situations at work, not unsafe running but unintentionally letting little mistakes crop up here and there. No one at work is intentionally messing up to make more work for others. I firmly believe that. If a mistake is identified and communicated clearly to the person responsible they look for a way to fix the issue if possible. They are also genuinely apologetic if it was a mistake that could have been avoided. This is a great workplace ethos, and is not as common as I would have thought in places I’ve worked. This works best when it starts from management and is encouraged down throughout the organisation.
I’ve found myself being more introspective when it comes to making choices, especially ones made in stressful situations. I try to start by taking a deep breath, thinking through what might happen if I bring up the perceived issue, and what might happen if I let it slide. Is pointing this out beneficial right now? Or will it move things in the opposite direction? At the moment this process works sometimes but not all the time. If I realise more information is needed I seek out others who have different perspectives to talk through the situation with. In ultimate this involves talking to other experienced players. At work this involves talking to my manager, and others in our organisation with different areas of expertise.
Whatever the situation, wherever we are, the most important thing to remember is to communicate with respect. We won’t always agree but we can initiate discussion rather than confrontation. If we are the one starting a conversation, we are responsible for starting it in the best way possible.
What are some areas of your life where communication can be difficult? How can you encourage yourself to instigate conversation when it is necessary?
Go well into your week and look after each other. Peace.