Generous Interpretation

What if we chose to assume the best about others?  By pausing to reflect on our feelings we can recognize whether we are making a negative assumption about a situation and challenge ourselves to reverse the situation and ask a few questions: “What is the most generous assumption I can make,”? “What am I noticing about my role in this situation,”? or “Why would a reasonable, rational and decent person do this”? Generous Interpretation is something we are challenging you to adopt when it comes to your employees, colleagues, and even in your personal life.  Here are a few examples that may help you:

Story: Fact: Generous Interpretation:
You are late responding to emails. You respond to emails 1-2 days later. You are taking the time to carefully craft a well put together response.
You seem very standoffish. You never speak to others when passing in the hallway or on the elevator. You are very deep in thought about the items on your to-do list.
You don’t care to socialize with your co-workers. You declined to attend all of the afternoon social events in the office (baby showers, birthday celebrations, work anniversaries, etc.) You have family obligations (for example pick up from daycare/school), requiring you to leave work earlier in the afternoon, which is usually when office social events are scheduled.
You are inconsiderate and passive aggressive. When I was coming up to the elevator, you closed the doors so that I was unable to get on. You may not have seen me coming, or you may not have been able to stop the doors from closing in time.

*Learn more about Generous Interpretation by contacting the Center for Leadership & Organizational Change (CLOC)

Last updated: June 1, 2018

Last updated: June 1, 2018