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A Positively Different Approach to Messing Up!!

Have you heard of Ubuntu? Chances are that you may not have done. I had not until recently when I read an article about a tribe in Africa, who, when someone in their tribe messes up take a rather positively different approach than we might do in here in the West.

So, take a moment to consider this? What do you do when someone around you messes up? Maybe they didn’t do something you needed them to do? Maybe they hurt you in some way? Perhaps you saw someone being what you considered to be lazy, difficult, angry or a whole host of other behaviours that we have learned are undesirable or “wrong”. It is so easy to judge. So easy to feel wounded or let down isn’t it.

At work, how do we react when we see others letting the team down, or losing their temper? I recall observing a situation not so long ago, between an employee who was extremely upset at what he perceived as being ignored by his manager. The manager, in response, became angry and infuriated at what he perceived as resistance and defensiveness. The outcome? Both parties felt bad, hurt, let down and ultimately parted ways. In truth, I have seen similar scenario’s played out across many office and personal environments. Sad, don’t you think?

So, what happens with Ubuntu?

The Ubuntu ideology basically means ‘I am because we are.’ It is encapsulated by this quote from Desmond Tutu:-
“Africans have a thing called ubuntu. We believe that a person is a person through other persons. That my humanity is caught up, bound up, inextricably, with yours. When I dehumanize you, I dehumanize myself. The solitary human being is a contradiction in terms. Therefore, you seek to work for the common good because your humanity comes into its own in community, in belonging.”

Its generally true to say that when an employee joins a business, primarily at the outset, they seek belonging. They normally want to fit with the team, get on with others and feel that they belong in this new place in which they find themselves. It’s a basic human driver, that need to belong.

Yet, over time, and especially during challenging times, we see this need for connection go awry again and again. We are complicated things us humans!

To return to my point. What did the African tribe do when they experienced another tribe member doing wrong? Well, see the post below which triggered our thoughts here at PDS:-

Imagine what we could do in our lives, our homes, our offices, our world, if this was how we responded. Would it make a difference? Would it make a positive difference? We believe it would. Not only would it make a difference to others, it would make a difference to us! Kindness is reciprocal. What we give out, we get back in buckets.

The very act of recognising and responding to the worth in others, enables us to feel our own worth. This, is at the very core of all we strive for at Positively Different Solutions. For us, our company title is not just words. It is our ethos and something in which we truly believe. We aim to bring this ethos into all we do each day.

So, next time your friend, family member or colleague messes up, remember…