What’s your reaction to the following scenarios?
A driver cuts you off. A co-worker sends you a curt email. A friend or family member ignores your text.
Maybe you get defensive. Maybe you get angry. Maybe you withdraw. Whatever the reaction, many times it involves a kneejerk response rather than a conscious choice.
But we do have a choice. When life’s little conflicts arise, we can decide to avoid jumping to conclusions that may be off base. Instead, let’s choose to assume the best intentions.
Assuming the best means giving others the benefit of the doubt. Maybe the driver was preoccupied with a sick child. Maybe your co-worker was in a hurry and didn’t intend the abrupt tone. Maybe your text got lost in the shuffle of a busy day.
Once we resolve to assume the best intentions, we free ourselves from negative thoughts that hinder productive interactions at work, in the home, and out in the community. We feel better about ourselves. Our relationships thrive. And we play a small role in softening the confrontational nature of today’s society. Imagine how much goodwill can be achieved when both parties adopt this frame of mind.
At Fidelity Bank, assuming the best intent is embedded in our Servant Leadership Constitution, a document that lays the groundwork for our culture of caring—a key component of our LifeDesign promise. Unquestionably, it has helped us form healthier relationships with colleagues and customers.
So, instead of taking offense, let’s take a step back to consider whether we might be drawing the wrong conclusion. When in doubt, clarify; give the other person a chance to clear things up. In my experience, the majority of times the other person’s intention turns out to be entirely innocent.
What better time to practice this strategy than during the holidays? Starting now, let’s assume the best in everything people say and do. I wish you good health, a fulfilling purpose, and positive assumptions in 2020 and beyond.
Ed Manzi Jr.
Chairman & CEO