Are you someone who believes the best or assumes the worst? Most of us naturally lean one way or another because of past experiences in our professional and personal lives. Some find it easy to trust and feel optimistic, while others go through life always waiting for the other shoe to drop.
While our past might make believing the best more difficult, as leaders it is the mindset we should work to have. If believing the best is a struggle for you, here are five actions to consider:
- Manage your thoughts. Believing the best is a choice (just like assuming the worst is a choice). You get to decide what you think.
- Don’t force your past experiences on others. Yes, you might have had a disastrous experience with a former employee, and yes, you definitely need to learn from that situation. But don’t make all future employees pay for the actions of one really bad apple.
- Be open about your concerns, but don’t use your trust issues as an excuse. It’s okay to discuss why you feel uneasy about something. It’s totally okay to call an employee out (in private) when they’ve violated your trust, so you can discuss how you’ll move forward. It’s not okay to use a past bad experience as an excuse to quit trusting people.
- Give the grace you want others to give to you. What would you hope for if you were in your colleague’s situation?
- Remember, everybody screws up. Ha, that might sound like the opposite of “believing the best,” but what I means is, yeah, you are going to be disappointed. Even your star performers will, at some point, let you down. Don’t let our fallibility as humans prevent you from continuing to believe in and for your team.
Of course, even those who almost always expect the worst are at an advantage on occasion. Stay tuned for our second post in this three part series, the pros and cons of expecting the worst.