There’s a misunderstanding that arises from time to time with our work. After being exposed to Arbinger’s fundamental principle that we must strive to see people as people, we often hear something along the lines of, “So what you’re saying is that I’m just supposed to be nice to everyone?”
If an individual has adopted an “outward” mindset, it might be assumed that their behavior must be soft, light, nice. And if an individual has adopted an “inward” mindset, it might be assumed that their behavior must be hard, direct or unkind. But the truth is that adopting an outward mindset means that we see others as people, and maintaining an inward mindset means that we see others as objects—and this distinction is deeper than behavior.
For example, complimenting others might be considered “soft” and correcting others “hard.” But I can compliment or correct someone because it will help them, or I can compliment or correct someone because it will help me.
One way I’m seeing a person, and the other way I’m seeing an object. Consider your daily interactions—there are two ways to say “yes,” two ways to say “no,” two ways to smile, two ways to frown, two ways to discipline, two ways to reward. We can do almost any behavior outwardly or inwardly.
But consider how different two apparently identical behaviors can be—take compliments for example. If someone compliments you while genuinely seeing you as a person, how different might that feel from receiving a compliment from someone who is seeing you as an object. Would it feel the same?
Likewise, consider how different it feels to be corrected by someone who sees you as a person as compared to someone who sees you as an object.
The takeaway? Whatever we do on the surface, people respond to who we are being when we are doing it.
Want to take a deeper dive into how we see one another? Pick up a copy of our Leadership and Self-Deception Self-Study Course here.