Over the years I have often been faced with calls or emails from other managers who have taken offense at something I or my staff had done or said. In almost every case, when I reviewed the chain of communication, I truly could not see a cause reason for the person to be angry. Generally, it was the result of a misunderstanding.
As an example, if you’re on your way into work and some inconsiderate driver cuts you off, how do you respond to that? I’ve known people who will let that early morning action ruin their entire day. The dwell on the fact that someone offended them, and it colors their interactions the rest of the day.
How should we react? Is it really productive to let it bother us? Consider the day of that inconsiderate individual – do you think that their day was ruined because you were offended? They likely carried on without a thought to your feelings and had a great day. So why would we let their action ruin ours?
Likewise at work it is always best to take some time and read between the lines before we take offense or respond. While there are always issues we need to respond to, but how we respond can make a huge difference in how the personal interaction is perceived.
Trying to understand the context of a discussion is important. Taking the high road in all interactions is always the best course of action, and not being quick to take offense will help you and everyone around you have a little less stress in their lives.