There’s a part of us that just doesn’t grow up. No matter how hard we try to be professional and treat our work objectively, there will always be that person that brings out our immaturity. The petty tyrant brings out our childish nature. We bicker and speak solely in terms of you and I instead of we and us. We wind up blaming them for our stress instead of taking responsibility for our side of the interaction. In management, there are times I get to observe the adolescent in my employees. I’ve had it happen to myself as well which is even harder to correct.
When we get in the mode of comparison and separating ourselves from others, we enter into the realm of the inner child. We transform into adolescent assholes who only look out for “me” and “I.” We frame our interactions with our petty tyrants as problems and project our responsibility onto them instead of accepting the situation and accountability for our own actions. We wind up in urinary olympiads where everyone gets pissed on. Over time we undermine our own professionalism. Others start making comments on how we are unable to get past our adversary or how we create hostile situations. We act as prepubescent know-it-all’s.
What can we do when we find others or ourselves in this situation? To put it as simply as possible, we have to grow up. We have to see the commonalities between the approach of our adversary and our own. Find where we agree. Remember what we’ve learned from them. When helping others, we can offer perspective so those involved can see past themselves. We have to move past the petty squabble and deal with the facts of the situation. We have to move past making everything personal into the realm of working together towards a common goal. Finding commonality may be difficult but when you both can agree on what’s important in the long-term, the situation transforms into a workable situation.
So the next time you find yourself or others bogged down in petty disputes, remind those involved to think in terms of “we” and “us” in lieu of “I” or “you.” Find what’s common in the different perspectives and focus on them instead of the items being thrown from one side of the argument to the other. See beyond the words to the motivations behind the slander. Move past the bickering child within to a more mature realization of the many ways to get to the goal or desire. Seek commonality and move towards it together with both differing perspectives preserved. If commonality is unobtainable, then you may have to agree to disagree. And if agreeing to disagree is not possible simply withdrawal and don’t invest any more time and energy in the matter. Move past the ego-bound delusions of separation.