Treat others as you would wish to be treated is a mantra that you often hear. It’s something that is worth applying in many aspects of life and I suggest worth applying in the office.
I recently had to intervene in a discussion that was becoming rather heated.
The background was that one member of the sales team had (in good faith) offered additional technical information to a customer. His belief was that this information was readily available, when in fact it was unproven (but very probably accurate) assumption.
Recovering the situation required the technical department to undertake additional work to prove the theory and provide further details to the customer.
Understandably, the technical team leader was somewhat upset!
The heated discussion was along the lines of “You shouldn’t have said that!” responded with “you should have had the info available”
There’s no way to take back what has been said.
Had the sales team realised this was an unproven theory they would not have made the offer.
Express your frustration, but then let’s move on to a solution.
You can’t change history so stop trying. Learn from the mistake, so that you can avoid it in future, but then focus on what you can change.
Part of the problem in this situation (and in many others) was the failure of either party to consider the intentions of the other.
The very last thing the sales team wanted was to mislead the customer or set an expectation that can’t be met.
The very last thing the technical department wanted was to share an unproven theory as if it were fact.
Pausing for a moment to consider the intentions will often take the heat out of the situation and allow you to accept what has happened. You can’t change it, but at least if you understand why it happened you can accept it and move on.
How would you want to be treated if you’d made the mistake?