Life Advice from Mister Rogers

My wife and I have done all sorts of interesting things while in Palm Desert, but one highlight was seeing the new movie, “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” starring Tom Hanks as Mr. Rogers.  It’s pretty rare that I leave a movie thinking that I want to be a better man, but this was one of those times.

Mr. Rogers’ life was focused on helping children sort through their emotions in healthy ways.  One of his lessons for kids is equally applicable to us as grownups:

“If it’s mentionable, it’s manageable.”

I’ve found this to be true in countless HR situations.  However, our instinct is the opposite.  We want to paper things over and not discuss them.  When a person is underperforming, when we have serious issues with a friend or partner, or when something is troubling us and we don’t know what to do about it, we want to go quiet.  But, once you can find the courage to mention it, the situation becomes manageable.

So many times I’ve simply called out the elephant in the room, and most times it comes as a surprise to no one, and turns out to be a far less big deal than was originally feared.

Here’s a sample script:

“I don’t know if you feel it, but from my perspective, this situation isn’t really working as it stands today.  Here’s how it looks from my perspective.  Could you share yours with me too?”

This brings relief to everyone.  We can all acknowledge that there’s a problem, even if we don’t have an immediate solution.

So take Mr. Rogers’ advice, and try mentioning your tough situation this week, and see what happens.

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