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Do You Play the “This=That” Game in Your Small Business Workplace?

My apologies for taking two weeks to follow up on my last blog post where I introduced the concept of “this=that,” and promised a deeper explanation on the concept. Here’s where it came from:

Two weeks ago a client asked me for help with an employee she thought was acting passive-aggressively towards her.

In reviewing the email exchange upon which this small business owner’s claim was made, it was easy for me to determine she was jumping to conclusions and blaming her employee for acting in a passive-aggressive way.

She jumped to this conclusion because this employee has a history of passive-aggressive behavior.

In this instance, it was not the case.

I pointed out to my small business owner client my reasons why I didn’t see this as passive-aggressive behavior, but as a reasonable response to a situation outlined in an email from their boss.

Because of past behavior, this client was playing the game “this=that.”

“This=That” causes a lot of stress, mis-perceptions, mis-understandings, hurt feelings and numerous other issues, and possibly conflicts, in the workplace.

“This=That” is a short cut that the human brain uses to make connections more easy to explain what happens in our world.

This brain shortcut is usually effective. Often you can easily make a realistic cause/effect connection, such as, touching a hot stove burner will cause a burned hand, which is just like stepping barefoot on a loose hot charcoal in the backyard from a barbecue grill.

This is how we learn and works well when we’re growing up and when we’re learning a new skill.

It doesn’t work so well when we’re trying to understand human behavior.

When we apply ‘this=that” to human behavior, especially in the workplace, we are making assumptions, causing us to label and blame others.

Labeling and blaming others in the workplace can only cause problems and conflicts between co-workers, and between employees and their small business bosses.

Do you play “this=that” with your employees and team members?

Have you ever been the victim of someone playing “this=that,” making wrong assumptions as to why you’ve done something?

Feel free to leave a comment below with any questions or experiences regarding the concept of “this=that.”

’til next time, Communicate with Power,

skip weisman, transforming leadership and workplace communication to deliver champion level results

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