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It’s oh so easy to jump to conclusions and to assume we know how other people will react and what they are thinking.
Of course, the problem with jumping is we might not land in the right place. Our conclusions are based on guesses, gut feelings, our attitude toward our relationship with the other people involved and sometimes just the mood we are in when we start thinking about it.
These are all things we can control. Don’t jump anywhere and go ask others involved some clarifying questions to find out what is going on. Then form an opinion after that.
Be aware that some communication channels are much better than others. Face-to-face communications or a phone call when possible can be much better in a tense situation. And how often do people actually jump to positive conclusions?
So the people doing the jumping can change their actions and not jump to conclusions. But are there ways others can make it easier for people to not jump to conclusions about them? Absolutely. Here are some ideas:
- Be fast with communications. Something happens, it’s shared.
- Be clear. Explain what something means. Add context.
- Listen to questions and answer them. Follow-up questions are OK and not a sign of argument.
- Be available.
The hard thing – especially for leaders – can be that it can be hard to know when somebody jumped to conclusions. It mostly happens in their minds and sometimes gets shared at a water cooler or similar place.
Not jumping to conclusions though and taking steps to prevent it as much as possible can help everyone relax, have better communications and live better authentic stories together. It helps us have better relationships, but it requires honest and open communication.