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Assume Positive Intent

Being positive in the workplace can be challenging when you are sleep-deprived, stressed, or suffering countless ways beyond the 9-to-5 regimen.

It can be especially challenging when dealing with others who may be in a similar place. That is when “assuming positive intent” takes on heightened meaning.

There are times when someone says something, and it hits you like a knife. “What the heck was that supposed to mean?” you think.

At Dasher, the value of positive thinking shines through. At all levels, the company stressed that team members should assume positive intent.

While some comments may come off as abrupt, angry, or insensitive, empathizing with what the commenter may be going through and giving them the benefit of the doubt can be a game-changer. It informs your response and can prevent an innocent but misconstrued comment from becoming the seeds of an argument or long-standing strained relationship.

Maybe someone failed to anticipate and understand your viewpoint but did so through no fault of their own. They may not realize they hit a raw nerve, or that their jokes are less than funny.

Many people in other workplaces may assume that co-workers compete with them or are out to hurt them. Dasher’s culture – and team members — take the opposite approach. We believe that the person who may have uttered a hurtful comment is not trying to harm. We focus on being more solution-oriented and not viewing a comment as a personal attack.

This approach is critical when a difference of opinion emerges. We ask, “what did you mean to say there?”  We seek to understand and assume positive intent.

Even something as simple as someone speaking over someone else may be misconstrued and taken as the other person essentially saying, “shut up,’’

However, the other person may be excited. They may blurt their thoughts out and say something that disturbs you. The key word here is, “pause.”  Take a moment, I always say, and look at the other perspective. Friends talk over friends all the time, but we tend to interpret, mis-interpret, and over-interpret  and think someone is out to get us when it happens in a work setting.

When we mention the interruption to the other person, they may instantly apologize. It opens the door when we assume people are good and fair and honest.

Giving people the benefit of the doubt is a welcome reaction because we want that for ourselves. We want to be judged by our intent, but we often judge others by their actions.

Assuming positive intent begins with hiring positive, kind, caring people who would not maliciously attack others.

 Andy Hart, a recent Dasher teammate, says he always looks for the best in people. For him, “assuming positive intent” means “generally being kind.”

“I always assume the best, assume positive intent, and hope for the best.”  Happily, he says, the best has come.

Dasher is a data-driven, customer contact services operation with a focus on communicating complex messages to diverse populations. Specific capabilities include face-to-face communications provided by our field teams, customer engagement strategies provided by our call center and member engagement staff, and secure, complex, variable mailing services provided by our production team. Dasher is an experienced Minority, Women and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (MWDBE) with a bestselling book, “The Talent Pool,” and is certified by AICPA with the SOC2SM Type2 data certification and validation.

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