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Updated: Oct 2, 2022

It feels really terrible to make a mistake or misinterpret something. Your world can come crashing down around you depending on your tolerance for mistake making. Whether you rarely do it, or do it all the time, it’s hard to feel good about yourself, even if it’s just for a few moments.

Taking the time to reflect on these moments is so important for humility (recognising that we all come crashing down at some point) and empathy (recalling the feeling of being wrong and have compassion for what people are going through). If someone is not doing their job well, or have mucked up a task, get down off your high horse and show them your humility and empathy. Be there with them. Let them know what’s done is done and let’s move on together.

The alternative approach is to hold a high expectation, get pissed off when it’s not met, performance manage the person out of their job and make their life and yours miserable. Then when the next imperfect employee comes along, repeat.

All of this expectation starts to become a constant cloud of animosity for all of those who are not as good as you, don’t pull their weight, aren’t as smart. Continuing on like this changes who you are and who you are becoming. We can’t choose our co-workers or employees, but we can choose how we approach them. The only cure is love.

You’ll know from your family relationships, that the moment you run out of love for someone (albeit temporarily) you have no tolerance for the things they say and the habits they have – things that when you have love for them you have a sense of humour about or can overlook.

The same goes for people you work with. The only way to be able to tolerate people and all of their flaws is to love them. Don’t overthink it, just put your ill-feeling aside for one moment and think of who they are, who were they as children, see the good in them before they were shaped by their experiences and feel some love for who they are. Some people are obviously easier than others, but when you can do this, everything at work will run smoother.

You’ll feel less anger, you won’t mind offering a hand, you’ll feel the appreciation even if you don’t get it verbally and your relationship will strengthen. The time will come when you need some support and your co-workers will be there for you.

I once heard a very simple and effective life quote – always say thank you and never expect to be thanked. This is the practice of doing nice things for people because it feels good to do it, rather than seeking credit or brownie points for the good things you do. The reward is the task itself.

Every now and then, think about how you will remember your current workplace. Will you have fond memories of the connections you’ve made, the people you’ve inspired and the great work you collaborated on or will you remember how hard and frustrating it was to get anything done and animosity towards those around you. Choose the memories you want have now by making compassionate and collaborative choices.

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