When Grown Adults Act Like Children
This isn’t the usual kind of thing I like to discuss but I’m going to vent a little. Today I practically had to pick my jaw up off the ground after overhearing and seeing two very grown adults in leadership positions behave like catty, mean, bully-headed teenagers while they didn't realize anyone was standing in earshot of them. It shouldn’t (because it happens everywhere) but it does, boggle my mind that grown adults in professional fields where unity and teamwork should be a natural part of the culture, can be so full of ego and criticism that they think making fun of or belittling others in attempt to make themselves look smarter, better, whatever-have-you, is acceptable or even necessary, because it is neither and character always eventually gets revealed.
I'm sure this would be a lot more interesting to read if I would disclose the specifics of the event that I'm referencing from today, but in lieu of not creating friction for others I'll leave it as generalized, since we can all relate in some way to these kinds of situations and the point I'm getting to might be helpful to you or someone else out there.
Instead of being judgmental in a way that lets me leave just perceiving those people as complete jerks, back-biters or flat out mean (although there are some that really do fall into those categories) I realize that somewhere along the line they have likely been deeply hurt enough to develop the need to coyly demean others in order to assert their dominance or fuel their need to feel important, even if there's nothing competitive in nature revolving a situation or relationship. After all, hurt people are who hurt people. I say 'coyly' because I've learned there's a certain type of person, and they are everywhere, that is so good at coming across as if they are just having 'discussions' when they're actually being flat out cruel, or trying to belittle someone else without coming across as the type who would ever do such a thing; these are people I prefer to run from and keep out of my life. Unfortunately, there are situations - usually in a professional setting - where removing people like this isn't a practical option. Sometimes they are the ones making decisions, or the ones who influence them, or for one reason or another just aren't going anywhere, and in that case its a matter of choosing battles, which is why deciding not to harbor offense or bitterness is the healthiest choice to make and just seeing it for what it is - hurt people hurting people, or maybe they're just unhappy and flat out mean.
So much of me wanted to stay angry and 'go and tell' what I'd heard, but in this situation it wasn't my place, wouldn't make anything better, and shedding light on any of the things that were said would only create friction for the people who were there. Instead, I'm using it as a tool to help influence a decision about moving forward with the very time-involving commitment that today revolved around, as well as reinforcing the fact that there is no reason to be a part of something, no matter how wonderful it might be, if the people involved do not cultivate a healthy, integrity-based culture.