What You Should Assume About Others

There’s an age-old saying about assuming things. I won’t quote the saying because it is slightly inappropriate but often accurate.

However, I think we can begin assuming things about others. I began to think about assuming in a different light after a recent church board member orientation meeting.

Man sitting on stairs

Photo by Black Jiracheep

Pastor Doug Tuttle, from Grand Rapids First, presented the orientation. He went over what it takes to be a great board member. He also shared the roles and responsibilities. It was pretty intense.

Yet, one thing, more than anything, will stick with me.

Pastor Tuttle said the board members should always do one thing. I believe leaders should also do what Pastor Tuttle suggested we do. That suggestion?

Always assume positive intent.

What You Should Assume About Others

Boom! That hit me like Casey Jones hitting a bad guy with his hockey stick.

We get assumptions all wrong. We often assume negative intent from those we lead or interact with.

Our assumption is that they are going to try to get away with doing the minimum amount of work. They will try to find ways to goof off. Or they’re looking for ways to hurt us.

In reality, this is far from the truth.

Think about your actions. Go on, I’ll give you a minute…

Okay… Now that you’ve thought about your actions, what is your intent behind them? Do you intend to harm those you lead? Do you intend to mislead others? Or do you try to do the least amount of work possible?

Nah, that’s not you. You know what your intentions are. They are to do the best job possible. To help those you lead. And to be as effective as possible.

Those are your intentions. Those are also, more than likely, the intentions of your team members.

This is also what you should assume about the actions of your team members. They’re not looking for a simple paycheck… At least if you’ve gotten them to buy into your organization’s mission and vision.

Let’s change what we assume about those we lead. We can do better in our assumptions. If we do, we won’t live up to the age-old saying.

What Assuming The Right Thing Does

When you begin to assume the right things about your team members, things begin to change. Your team begins to see you as someone who realizes they want to do good work. That they’re trying their best. And that you have their back.

Assuming the right thing puts your team members in the right light. You’re no longer seeing them as scheming or slacking. Your mindset changes and you can begin to lead your team in the right way.

Your team will recognize when your mindset has shifted. They will be able to tell you actually believe in them. They will also know you trust them.

What does this do? This lets your team know you believe they are valuable and looking to do the right thing.

When you believe in your team and show them you trust them, their work effort goes up. They won’t be afraid to put in a long, honest day. They will see their efforts as living up to your expectations.

You can’t go wrong when you assume the right things about your team. Start assuming your team members are for you, not against. You will get more out of them when you begin to lead with this trust.

Question: What do you assume about your team? What have been your results? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.

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