My Pi-Spective on Being Considerate


(A pi-spective is where you write about something using only 314 words)

Being considerate to others is a fairly basic thing many people seem to get wrong. The essential meaning of the word 'consider' is to reflect on or be thoughtful. In the context of other people, it's about reflecting on the ways our behavior impacts upon them.

We are always responsible for our own behavior but how often are we held to account? Bad behavior gets a person promoted in many organizations: it seems to be a natural product of the way we work.

A friend of mine told me a story once. How, at school, the disciplines such as science, art, maths, medicine and law quickly claim their own and these children go into their respective fields. But what of commerce? The ranks of commerce are filled with the kids who stole each other's lunches.

A little extreme perhaps but when you observe the antics some people get away with perhaps there's more than little truth in it. Paul Babiak and Robert Hare's book 'Snakes in Suits: When Psychopaths Go To Work' gives us a good look at the corporate psychopath: 'shallow, emotionless, irresponsible and antisocial'.

Observed consideration of others over time is a fairly good indicator of a decent person doing their best in a tough world. We should take note of Euripides: 'Every man is like the company he is wont to keep'.

This is of course the aim of responsible leadership: to build strong teams around principles and values. Considerate behavior is the basis of building a sustainable culture.

Bob Sutton gave us a book which should be personally handed to every new management hire, 'The No Asshole Rule'. Helpfully he provides a test for identifying asshole behaviour:

1: After encountering the person, do people feel oppressed, humiliated or otherwise worse about themselves?

2: Does the person target people who are less powerful?

A great test. The main thing: be considerate.

Image via BossFight