We judge people by their behaviour – what they do and say – and we often don’t realise what is motivating their behaviour. We make assumptions about them and these are sometimes wrong and cause misunderstandings. We can get on better with people if we make the effort to find out what is driving their behaviour. This is basically what my first book, How to Get On with Anyone, is about.
I saw an example of this while on safari in Botswana. We encountered a group of wild dogs on the river bank, running up and down and looking across to the other side, where one dog was also back and forth along the bank. It had been separated from the others during a chase and now it was desperate to get back to the pack. We watched the dogs for an hour, during which they continued to run along in one direction, and then back in the other, mirroring the movements of the isolated dog on the other side. We couldn’t understand why the dog didn’t swim across the river.
Then we spotted the crocodile. It had been lurking in the water, waiting patiently for an opportunity to pounce if the dog entered. Suddenly their behaviour made sense.
How can you become more aware of other people’s crocodiles? Understanding other people’s behaviour is not always straighforward!