What Will You Put Up With?

There is a misconception out there that tolerating something makes you a hero or perhaps a martyr. Or saintly, even. None are true. Tolerating something you know you cannot live with simply makes you dishonest.

Here’s why: It is human nature to rebel against things that don’t fit our values. So if the guy next to you is smoking and you tolerate it, you will be upset. He won’t. If someone in your office misses a deadline and you tolerate it, you will be upset. They won’t. If your business partner is lying to you and you tolerate it, you will be upset. She won’t.

Whose fault is that? Yours. You do nobody, least of all yourself, any favors by tolerating things that you know will ultimately upset you. In the end, everyone loses. Worse, you are not being accountable for your actions.

Very recently I tolerated a workflow situation that I knew would not be advantageous to me. I was the client. Because there was chaos and no clarity around how to complete the job at hand, I instead felt I had to be patient, understanding and tolerant. In reality, I was fuming. I knew the right way to get the job completed, yet I had not created the proper roadmap for this to happen. I  allowed this nonsense to go on for days. Of course, I finally lost it. It was not my finest moment.

The team missed my deadline, and I was left feeling frustrated, angry and underserved. It’s my own damn fault. I should have set the intention from the beginning, held a proper meeting, set goals and held all accountable for completing their part of the job.

But I didn’t. The lesson was a hard one. And it was costly. They always are.

So moral of the story is Don’t Tolerate. Instead, Declare. Everyone will manage much better once you say what you need, listen to their input and then mutually set goals. Putting clarity around things is the best gift you can give your co-workers.