Ask, resist, and frame

Three things you can start doing right away to unlock other people’s potential.

  1. Ask clear, open questions – Abuse what and how, get rid of be and do. One example: instead of are you happy with the project? ask what are you happy about with this project?
  2. Resist giving answers – Even when you know and are sure, an answer not given gives the possibility to the other person to figure it out. Go back to #1 and ask things like what will do with this information? or how do you plan to tackle this issue? or what’s the next step to figure this out?
  3. Frame everything – Help others put what they do in perspective, anchor the day-to-day in the broader picture, make evident the link with company goals, community goals, life goals. If you do #1 and #2 you should maintain the distance necessary to focus exactly on #3.

Empty-handed

The moment you make an argument personal is the moment you lose it.

If your position is right because the other is wrong, or is an idiot, or did not do a good enough job, or is not as competent, your position is extremely weak. And even if you are right, there’s no way you can prove them wrong.

Keep discussions around facts instead and be ready to accept other opinions as valid and worth your consideration.

Arguments are negotiations, and no negotiation can leave one party empty-handed.

Nothing really ends

Everything ends.

But nothing really does, does it?

Things might end on a material level. A relationship, a job, a moment. But there are threads that keep us attached to things that have ended, and that make them come back. Memories, feelings, thoughts.

It’s the accumulation of everything that happens that makes us who we are. Nothing really ends.

Your choice is whether you want to keep all that in a messy closet or if you want to give it a shape that you can call your story.

At the root

Most people are scared, preoccupied, hurt. And until you help them get at the root of what makes them such, they will not be able to move past that behaviour that is bothering you and damaging the community.

The only shortcut to this is to cut the relationship altogether. That’s never progress and very rarely what you actually want.

Mediation

Some people like to provoke strong reactions in others. They seek the fight, they care to win, they tend to protect, defend, and argue.

Some people prefer not to be noticed by others. They shy away, they let go, they hide and accept.

With the former, you have to be careful not to be drawn into the pit. With the latter, you have to be careful to assign the merit and avoid being forceful.

Mediation is always the best way, but you first need to figure out who you are dealing with.