This incident turned into 3 small lessons for all of us from our boss. Leaders make learning effortless and yet impactful when you read the story you may realize the 3 small lessons were not rocket science. Yet, how often we implement such small things in our daily life when dealing with situations and people?
It was a late morning in our office, the day had just started a few hours ago. There was tension in our small office. Our office was small. A slightly higher voice in one corner can be heard on the diagonally opposite side of the office. Generally a very calm, composed, motherly and one of the most silent persons of the office was upset. It had been more than 10 minutes since our admin and accounts person was furiously shouting to our office boy. She was asking questions, pointing errors, and suggesting the impact of all these. Irresponsible behavior and mistakes were causing a significant impact on our daily work, and costing office.
The accounts manager continued her monologue – “it is common sense isn’t it?” For a few other things, she said “I had explained this to you earlier too”, how can you make similar types of mistakes (not exactly the same) repeatedly? So, some things were straightforward errors of judgment by the office boy. The office boy was making these errors for some time; we all had been impacted some time or the other.
After it was enough for our boss, he called the accounts manager, who used to report to the boss. He requested the office boy to bring an early lunch. The office boy knew and generally used to collect bosses’ lunch from a nearby restaurant.
3 small lessons
The boss turned to the admin cum accounts manager and said I heard some parts of your conversations. This is my suggestion to you –
- you cannot expect everyone to think the way you think
- had our office boy been as intelligent as you are, he probably wouldn’t have been an office boy
- you have to think from an individual’s level of intelligence and instruct him accordingly
After these three-suggestions, he further added – “I am not saying your observations are inaccurate.” Now, when you have thought about these three points, look at the past 10-15 min, our office has been stressed out.
The way he explained his point of view was such that the accounts manager had calmed down and the tension in the environment defused. His teachings were so good that I remember this lesson even after more than a decade. I may have failed in explaining the heat of the situation that was there. Probably, it is difficult for you to understand what difference between those three small statements made to the situations.
When I revisit the incident, I take a few takeaways from the incident, one we have to be compassionate. Second, we have to understand the point of people. Lastly, we should start thinking about what should be our response later. These lessons can help in managing situations. I am still learning and trying to implement these and others. How do you handle tough situations?