Assumptions really are termites to relationships. I hear assumptions every day because the bulk of my leadership coaching is helping people manage their people problems and conflict.
“She’s dismissing my ideas because she’s threatened by me.”
“He’s not promoting me because he doesn’t like me.”
“She’s not including me in decisions because she’s a control freak.”
For any given situation there are MANY possibilities to explain what might be going on. Some of our problems might even be caused by our own blind spots.
Instead of assuming, ASK. Open, honest communication works best. Try something like this:
“The last few weeks I’ve observed _________. Could you help me understand what led to that decision?”
“I’ve presented three ideas this quarter that were declined. I’d be interested in receiving feedback on how I could present my ideas differently to increase receptivity.”
The next time you catch yourself making an assumption, challenge yourself to consider possible alternatives, give the person the benefit of the doubt, and ask!
The gap between love and hate is created by misunderstandings.