EVERYONE is doing the best they can do, all the time.
How you think about others—strangers, friends, family, people providing you services—sets the stage for what comes next between you, for better or worse, in every moment of your life.
Thinking about particular colleagues, directs, boss, or others in your organization—or even people in your life—you may laugh at my assertion. Certainly, you say, so-and-so isn’t putting out YOUR idea of their best. Geez, they’re annoying, frustrating, and disappointing on a sustained basis. How can that be their best?
It’s not, but it’s the best they can do at the time. And that key distinction can change your life—as a leader, and a human being.
If you start with “s/he’s doing the best they can do,” then two things happen:
- You reduce the resentment / frustration / disappointment negativity drag on yourself, and;
- You are more likely to approach them in a way that generates positive outcomes, such as, “I see how hard you’re trying, so let’s work together to find a way to …” (be more effective / raise the bar / focus on more relevant priorities / etc.), rather than “WTF?”
Finally, when things go WAY wrong, which can happen from time to time, understanding that everyone around you is doing the best they can will keep you sane and focused.
Whether a crisis or day-to-day, understanding that everyone is doing the best they can do all the time is a healthy, productive, sane, and powerful frame of mind for leaders, and all of us.
Try it for a week, and let me know what happens.
The Recovering Leader