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.


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.


The effort we put into avoiding difficult conversations.

The energy we invest into keeping that bad feeling at bay.

The thoughts we dedicate to finding ways to reduce uncertainty.

That’s what makes everything more difficult, bad, and uncertain.

When you accept that as a part of being a colleague, a leader, a partner, a friend, a parent, a human being, then the rest of the journey is downhill.

I’m not suggesting that we should cease efforts to alleviate pain, our own or that of others. But as psychotherapist Sheldon Kopp was keenly aware, our “mistaken belief that it can be cured” is what makes pain unbearable.

Ed Batista, Pain Is Mandatory. Suffering Is Optional.

New things

The worst way you can welcome a new thing a colleague has worked on – something that fills a gap, something that was needed and was not there – is to say: “Can you also do this?”.

Of course, it’s imperfect. It’s the first time you have that.

Of course, you have ideas and opinions. You were given time to think about it.

Of course, it will get better. That’s probably also why they have shared it.

“Can you also do this?” is the surest way to have the colleague stop working on it. Welcome the novelty instead, the initiative, the boldness. And give the new thing time to develop and accept your vision.

Caution does not spread

It might be that everyone is out there waiting for you to come out with the new feature. Perhaps your detractors are just waiting for you to trip and your competitors can’t wait to see the sneak peek of your new product. Somebody for sure has also set an alert to track everything that you are doing and beat you to it.

Or maybe not.

The point is that the time you spend worrying about all these unlikely scenarios – let’s accept it, in most cases we are not that important – is time you could invest to put your work out there and get people excited about it.

Caution does not spread.