Most People Are Not Lex Luther
We live in a world of self-fulfilling prophecy.
Fear leads to paralysis leads to failure. Worry leads to hesitation leads to poor performance.
This is true in our dealings with others, as well. Assumptions become self-fulfilling prophecy.
Someone pulls out in front of me in traffic. I brake and hit the horn - and assume the worst. This a-hole saw me coming and intentionally waited to pull in front off me because he has no concern for others, only cares about himself, and is a natural-born, self-satisfied jerk.
What if that's not the narrative?
What if he pulled in front me because he just found out his child is in the hospital or was distracted because he just lost his job? What if he's going through a painful and bitter divorce or his dog just died? The narrative could be very different from my assumptions.
In reality, it most likely is.
Assume the Worst
We do this too often. I do. I assume ulterior motive. Assume the person above me or below me is operating selfishly and doesn't have my best in mind. This means I must look out for me because no one else is.
This is a terrible way to live.
The older I get the more I realize people are generally not as bad as my assumptions. People in cars. People in my neighborhood. People in the workplace. Sure, I've been treated poorly by a few over the years. But, assigning their bad behavior to everyone is not accurate. It's not true. It's not fair.
Expect the Best
The research does prove it. Performance improves when we expect the best of people. The best leaders expect the best of the people around them.
When leading from the back of the room, expect the best and don't assume ulterior motive of people. Positional leaders, others in the office, and even nameless, faceless "corporate" do not consist of evil people. Imperfect people, for sure. But people. People with flaws, hopes, dreams, families, allergies, expectations, mortgages, and car payments. Dehumanization is bad for everybody.
Whether from the front or the back, good leaders believe the best. Good leaders expect the best.
Good leaders understand that there are very few actual Lex Luthers in the world.