I’ve been spread too thin lately. I’ve been stressed. I’ve been depressed. I’m been fighting to keep my head above water. As a result, some of the work in one of my numerous jobs suffered a bit.
When my boss confronted me, I asked if she was going to fire me.
“No,” she said. “I’m the ‘quick to hire, slow to fire’ kind of person.”
I love this for several reasons. First, it shows immense empathy. But it’s also all about the invitation to collaborate. A person who is quick to hire wants to find people to work with, wants people along for the ride. They extend the hand and say, “Come on this journey with me.” Being slow to fire shows commitment to that invitation, as if to say, “I bet on you and I’m sticking with that bet.”
I had a boss once who used to say, “There’s a difference between making a mistake and fucking up. Mistakes look like areas where growth is necessary. Fucking up looks like lying, stealing, cheating, refusing to accept responsibility, showing up late, showing up drunk, or not showing up at all. Mistakes happen. Fucking up is a choice.”
Collaboration requires trust, but it also require empathy. It takes a tolerance for mistakes, the ability to shrug off them off and say, “What’s next?”
When looking for collaborators, keep an eye out for the ones who can tolerate your mistakes. These are the kind of people you want on your team.