January 18

Conflict is a normal and natural part of any organization. Because the work is typically so subjective in nature, there will be a variety of opinions about which direction is best and who should do the work.

As someone working in this kind of environment, it’s natural to feel as if you’re being ground in the gears. It can seem like certain people are just difficult. To be fair, there are difficult people in the world, no doubt. But we often ascribe ill will to others when they are actually just incompetent.

Managers neglect their teams because they are worried about their own careers.

Peers get testy when you challenge their ideas because they are insecure about their roles.

You fail to follow up with someone by an agreed-on deadline because you were suddenly inundated with urgent emails.

It’s tempting to sit and stew on these situations and assume that others are intentionally making your life more difficult, but often it’s a series of simple mistakes that are to blame.

Be discerning about the actions of others, and maintain healthy boundaries in how you deal with them, but try hard not to slip into judging their intent.

Don’t ascribe ill intent where incompetence is likely to blame.

Is there anyone you struggle to work with whose actions might be explained better by incompetence than by ill intent?

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