Friday thought: bridges or walls

There are numerous inspirational quotes on stones that people throw in your path and how you should use these stones to build something nice.
It is a noble goal to put up a bridge instead of a wall when someone has put obstacles in front of you, or even worse, has hit you with one of these stones (figuratively speaking!).

But most of us know that being so noble and constructive is not easy. When you find these stones, it seems easier to do the „tit for tat“ thing and either throw them back or build a wall and hide, or think in lines of „us versus them“ instead of reaching out. And indeed some people need time to adjust to the new situation and to figure out what to do next.
That’s perfectly fine. People react differently, and as managers/leaders, we need to take this into account. Some team members might need support to get rid of bad feelings, others might just need additional time, others might need us to show them how we do it. Which, in my point of view, is very important. How I as manager/leader react to a situation will give information and guidance to my team. If I want people to be constructive, I should act accordingly.

Sometimes, a bridge is not the first thing you might want to build. Sometimes you might need to build a wall first. But eventually turning walls into bridges will help you move forward. Especially when we look at the challenges the modern work environment brings: there’s not much room for „us versus them“ or silos or hiding your knowledge. We need to network, collaborate, be creative, use technology and tools intelligently, and to do this, we can’t be surrounded by too many walls.

Of course, we will not get rid of closed doors completely, and I don’t think that this is necessary.

There’s a time and place for both, walls and bridges, and I would like to encourage you to keep that balance and to stop and think and take a closer look whenever you think a wall or a bridge would be the right thing.

Let me know what you think! I’m looking forward to hearing from you.


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