One Person’s Heaven Is Another Person’s Hell

This post has been a long time coming. A very long time.

Over a month ago I had a friend post on FB about how great amazing his support team at work was. About how upper management had made his experience with the company so much better than his prior work experience. How grateful he was for the differences between his past and present, in the workforce.

We work for the same company…….

A few weeks later I had one of my best friends reach an abysmal place. A dark place. An entire other world. One of which I wasn’t familiar with, but, likely may not have been too far from, myself. Stress induced “vacation”. Let’s just say several different things spiraled out of control and she wound up in that proverbial dark place.

We worked for the same company…….

I recently took the opportunity to ask that dear friend what my support should look like to her. What she needed and wanted from me, versus what I wanted to give or how I was built to give support. Honestly, I’d never had the opportunity….oh wait, I had never taken the opportunity, to ask anyone that question.

All of this made me think how one person’s heaven can easily be another person’s hell. Your reality of a situation, versus someone else’s reality of a situation, can be altogether different. If you don’t ASK the right questions, if you don’t dig deep into another person’s perspective or thoughts, you’re never actually going to know what someone else’s reality of precisely the same situation is.

And really, what the word “support” means. Not for you. Not for me. But those we were charged to support. Friends. Loved ones. Children. Co-workers. Team members. The list goes on.

What does support look like for you and your team?

We as leaders ask interviewees, “What’s your ideal leader look like?” or “What’s your ideal work environment look like?” or other versions of these questions, trying to simulate a match for an ever changing work environment.

But, do we ever stop to ask those currently around us what support, to them, looks like? Because I will tell you, my version of support is something like this:

Clapping hands, talking loudly, “Alright everybody, let’s get this show on the road! We missed the mark, let’s rally, get it together and move forward! We’ve got this!” 

My version of support is very short, sweet and to the point. It can be abrasive and brutally honest. You could likely ask any team that I have had in years past and you would get some variation of the exact same adjectives. It’s not a bad thing, it makes a property run, but, it’s not what everyone NEEDS.

Supporting your team makes all the difference, but, you have to be supporting them in their version of support. Of what that looks like to them. Is it compassion? Is it patience? Is it trust? There are several different variations of what support looks like to a person.

So while you’re formulating an environment that you think is supportive (“heaven”), remember, one person’s heaven, is another person’s hell.

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