That was the word that rang in my ears.
It was the midst of the pandemic, and I was up to my eyeballs in both paid and unpaid work.
My paid work consisted of my coaching practice, and teaching English on the side, as I transitioned from coaching to book circles.
My unpaid work consisted of homeschooling my kids, being a parent, and all that that entails, and volunteering as the president of a non-profit.
On top of that, my husband had lost a major contract as a result of the pandemic, so money felt tight -- very tight.
In hindsight, it was WAY too much.
When I lost it at a board meeting, with tears, anger, and blaming, I quickly got labelled as histrionic and aggressive.
It was a label that stuck.
Was it a case of fundamental attribution bias (also called error)?
Or the truth?
Right now, I am reading/leading 3 different books that talk about FUNDAMENTAL ATTRIBUTION BIAS and how it affects our interactions with our colleagues and those we lead.
For those of you who don't know the bias, it's essentially this:
If you throw on a dash of negativity bias, any "good" behavior up to that point gets erased, and all you remember is your negative interaction.
This can go sideways in a number of ways.
1) You judge yourself solely on intent, and not on actions, shirking any accountability because you "meant well." This leaves no room for growth.
2) You judge others solely on their behavior, and not their intent, boxing them into a label that they must struggle to out-perform moving forward. This erodes trust and diminishes your ability to work together.
If I was in fact on the receiving end of fundamental attribution bias, there's not much that I can do besides take responsibility for my part.
Yes, I behaved poorly.
It's not who I am, nor how I lead.
I could blame it on the context, or I could do differently next time?
We can't escape these biases, but we can learn from them.
Have you ever been on the receiving end of fundamental attribution bias?
Originally posted on LinkedIn with comments.
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I am Theresa Destrebecq.