Choosing how we relate to others
'My aim is not to teach the method that everyone ought to follow in order to conduct his reason well, but solely to reveal how I have tried to conduct my own.'
Ren Descartes 1596-1650,
French philosopher and founder of analytic geometry, in Discours de la mthode, 1637
It was the above quotation which encapsulated how I position my thoughts before speaking at a public engagement or indeed writing an item such as this. Whilst I have almost 30 years of experience, Im still conscious of how much Ive yet to learn. Choosing to follow the premise of applied learning, I seek to evolve myself, my behaviour and my results through applying learning gained as I experience life, work and indeed maturity both personally and professionally.
I continue to develop my personal ethics as I observe and experience the behaviours of others and their established practices, behaviours and standards which others adhere to. There are certain behaviours which I have always held dear and continue to demonstrate through example. These include:
- Being punctual
- Being organised
- Being willing to ask questions and seek clarification
- Communicating honestly and openly
- Being responsive
- Being consistent in setting expectations and managing them
There are so many variations in a persons perceptions of ethical standards and behaviours. It strikes me that there are those for whom ethics and values are inherent to them as people, whilst others adapt their conscience to suit the circumstances! Ethics, values and behaviours are evolved through upbringing, personality and choices we make. Within the work environment we regularly hear of individuals being labelled as those who:
- Get things done
- Talk, talk and talk
- Complain about others
- Cause conflict
- Are reliable
- Care passionately
- Are fully invested
As a project manager, its the responsibility of each of us to choose how we relate to another persons ethics and values. We choose to be sufficiently humble that we restrain ourselves from considering ourselves right and someone with alternative perceptions to be wrong; to suspend judgement and seek to understand.
Depending on your own personal code, youll choose to be open, reserved, communicative or secretive. There may be a contextual element that determines your choice of action: who is involved, the timing of the dialogue, the potential consequences Ultimately we each have to choose our own behaviour and by doing so, we set the path of the likely consequences.