Humans are the funniest creatures. We all like to be right. We all like to win. We all like to be popular and have lots of friends and supporters. Not many go out of their way to be found wrong, to lose, or go against the flow. It's plain and simple human nature. Yet we're often left confused as people's goals and purposes for these objectives clash.
At a meeting at work or within your community you might expect to be right at times and at times be wrong. You win some and you lose some; at times, whether you win or lose, you'll be popular or unpopular. You can be right, lose, and have friends - at the same time. You can be wrong, win, and have no friends. We love most of all to be right, to win, AND have friends. To win ‘all ways’ requires a bigger-than-self approach that takes into account the broader perspectives of all stakeholders.
Notwithstanding who's right, who wins or loses, or who gains and retains friends and who doesn't, what is most important is that we work with people - we're dependent on other people as they're dependent on us. There are things that are more important than what we feel. We can achieve far more when we focus on helping and supporting others to win and have success; especially those who cannot fully succeed without our help. We may not think we have much influence - take another look - people are probably reliant on us quite a lot more than we think; do you work with people? Do you have a family? Wherever there are people, there are relationships, and teamwork is required to make that work. We are all involved in, and required for, teamwork.
Success is abstract. An old mentor once cautioned me, “How important is it?" as I panicked about something that seemed important at the time. Later, having re-thought my proposed actions, deciding to keep faith, the worrisome issue ended up working out totally. We find that at times our level of success is so low that we lose faith and we give up; sacrificing all the hard relational work we've put in. It's such a waste.
The most important thing in life is people. Success in life, real success, is best measured on what people would say about us - the legacy we leave. If we can only learn to discern what people really want and need, and we take that into account in the whole picture, we're on the right track.
People like to be right. They like to be respected and treated fairly. We get far further in achieving overall team objectives when we can give people what they want. If we honestly can't and we have respectful rapport, we live on to fight another day to give that person what they want, eventually.
Copyright © 2008, S. J. Wickham. All Rights Reserved Worldwide
Steve Wickham is a safety and health professional (BSc) and a qualified lay Christian minister (GradDipDiv). His key passion is work / life balance and re-creating value for living, and an exploration of the person within us.