Perception and Perspective
Wednesday, October 30, 2019
Perception: Psychology - the neurophysiological processes, including memory, by which an organism becomes aware of and interprets external stimuli.
Perspective: a particular attitude toward or way of regarding something; a point of view.
Ergo: perception is the process where what we experience (external stimuli) is interpreted (filtered) by the brain, in relation to relevant memory and personal history, to arrive at a unique perspective. It should not be confused with fact or reality.
Here is a recent example: the boss was out of town; consequently the staff had less on their task lists than usual. This has sometimes been used as an opportunity to accomplish tasks that seldom get attended to: deep cleaning, purging, organizing, catch-up. With this current staff, it became time to go for boutique coffee, snacks, extended lunch, errands, late arrival or early departure. None of these (transgressions) appeared on their time sheets, in fact they all reported that they took abbreviated or no lunch periods which conveniently made up for the early departures. When they were present, they spent time checking their phones, cruising the internet (which is against company policy), preparing and eating food, and general socializing. I have a very hard time 'looking the other way' on this behavior, it rankles. The Boss doesn't want to know (he has literally told me to 'let it go'). He wants to appreciate them and the work they do. I seethe; I don't know how they can look me in the eye when they hand in their time cards. I don't understand why they aren't more grateful to have good jobs.
But look at those last statements. How do I know they aren't grateful to have good jobs? I would demonstrate my gratitude (which I do) by performing above and beyond, but that's me. If they truly believe (and I think perhaps they do) that they do a great job when the boss is here (things are busy), and that they deserve all the benefits (read liberties) they took while he was gone, then they would have no qualms regarding the accuracy of their time cards. Why can't I be grateful that they do the work they do when required? That they show up and cover the basics even when the boss is gone. Why do I focus on the potential taking of advantage (my perspective/opinion)?
I do know some of my difficulty does come from my perspective; my filters. That sense of morality and integrity predisposes me to judge or at least measure on the scales of right and wrong. I project my values onto their actions: I would be ashamed to take such liberties at work and further misrepresent my time on my time card. Clearly they are not bothered by this feeling. How do I relate to people I do not understand? How can I possibly see the situation the way they do when our perceptions and perspectives are so far apart?
This starts to feel like a grudge, a resentment that only hurts the one holding it. How do I let it go? If I hold onto it they will feel it, they will sense the 'chill' of my judgment; morale will suffer. Morale impacts work performance. If I think it is poor now, how will it be if staff start to feel unappreciated? Fellow managers advise me to 'write them all up' and add the warnings to their personnel files; to be quick to punish or replace. I find this advice to be simplistic and extreme. It won't solve the basic problem with the available workforce. It takes time to find and train replacements and quality and service suffer during the transition. I feel more of a need to connect and educate but I'm not sure how to initiate the conversation and frankly I have real doubts that a common ground could actually be reached. Working on this.
Find ways to let go of the things you can't change SparkPeeps! Tolerance training might be in order. Where does one draw the line? Working on my perspective (attitude).
Peace and Care