August 10th, 2010



A couple of months ago, I read this article: 12 Things That Good Bosses Believe

I was interested to read it for a few reasons: 1. I'm increasingly often in a supervisory role, and I enjoy it, and I care about being a good boss. 2. I have a boss who is a nice person but a bad boss. 3. In many ways, this kind of thing can apply to other aspects of life and relationships, too.

In particular, the first item on the list has had me thinking a lot:
1. I have a flawed and incomplete understanding of what it feels like to work for me.

Or, in the broader terms that I stepped back to think about: I have a flawed and incomplete understanding of what it feels like to be in relationship with me.

Studies have shown that people consistently overestimate how much people can read or intuit about their inner lives, and I know this happens in relationships (of all sorts) all the time. And also that we are, of course, biased in our own favor in evaluating and understanding relationship situations.

This is a big, deep hole of introspection, and pretty interesting territory. Simply stepping back and realizing that even when I try to put myself in others' shoes, I obviously have a full understanding of my own perspective, and a deeply incomplete one of theirs, and so, of course that informs my "in their shoes" take, even when I'm trying really hard to step back from mine.

Just as I never know how it changes a room for me to enter or leave it, my understanding of what it's like to be my friend or partner or sibling or parent or coworker ... is flawed and incomplete.

Is this something you think about?