Pidgeon holes and simplifications

Something beautiful happens when you develop and build a close relationship and friendship with someone. The closer you become with someone, the more you can zoom in past their story to the person they really are, and see them as someone just as complex, vulnerable, and rich as yourself.

~ Chris Bailey

This is a great way to sneak up on a mistake I make all the time.

In order to keep track of so many people, I have to distill them down to some sort of narrative; where are they? what do they do? in what context do I normally interact with them? …and so on. This leads to me summarizing people, and that’s good because it enables me to push my monkey sphere to a much larger number. The problem comes when I then expect (or worse, require) that the person also fit into that summary that I’ve created.

I’d like to say I learned to not make this mistake through years of thought and self-reflection. But that’s not how it happened.

I learned about this when I slowly, finally managed to make some HUGE changes in myself — and people kept jamming me into the same story. This was— well, “annoying,” would be a polite way to put it— “pushing down on my head while I feel I’m already drowning”, would be another way.

…and then, as with pretty much everything, I looked into my self-perception and realized, “oh crap! I too am doing this to everyone else.”

How can I help?

These are questions this manager has homed in on during his decades-long career at a high-tech company. Here they are…

~ Chris Bailey

A short article listing the 3 questions managers should ask in every one-on-one meeting.

Meanwhile, separately, I have recently realized that I’ve started frequently asking, “How can I help?” (It seems to be my version of the advice to ask, ‘Why?’ five times.)