What did you expect???

Peter Bregman in his excellent book “4 Seconds” writes:


When I coach executives or mediate conflicts between leaders, each person is always amazed at how the other people behave. This has led me to a very simple conclusion: the problem is not us, and it’s not them. The problem is our expectations.

Hong Kong people expect Filipino helpers to behave in a certain way, and Filipino helpers expect HK employers to behave in certain ways, and both are surprised when the other doesn’t behave in the way expected. Most of the burden of adjustment falls on the Filipino employee, but if the relationship is going to work - then the HK employer also needs to adjust his/her expectations.

The next time your employee acts in a way that you don’t understand - pause to take a deep breath, and instead of getting angry or acting out in frustration - choose to be curious. Ask “can you tell me more about what you were thinking when you did that?” When we suspend judgement and use curiosity - we can begin to understand another person’s culture and see things from their perspective. Once we see things from their perspective we will know how better to communicate our expectations to them. It sounds like a lot of work, and it is, but it’s also totally worth it. Give it a try and let me know how it goes.