Fix the Problem, Not the Person
My strength is that I’m an operator who thinks in processes, efficiencies, and logistics. My weakness is that I can become hyperfocused on the mission without pausing to zoom out or express empathy to those with whom I’m working.
Our standard process wasn’t aligning with her working style, and after a few earnest attempts with little progress, it (finally!) occurred to me that the process isn’t what’s important – she matters, and so do the outcomes. How we get there should be the least relevant factor.
When I told her to throw out the process and work freely, that’s when the walls came down. She shared that she was bullied by former female co-workers, and now she avoids working with women, especially when conflict is possible.
This experience made it clear that we don’t always have the benefit of knowing the other person’s history and perspective. We are allowed snippets into their lives, and we cannot begin to imagine how they became the person who they are today. It was a beautiful lesson in empathy (I need it) and compassion.
Key takeaway – solve the problem, not the person.