We humans like the truth.
And this for very good reasons, on our truths we put our lives at stake, our destiny, at all times.
Our emotional system, relentless and powerful, has very clear ideas about it: truth is good, non-truth is danger.
The process is quite more complicated than that, of course, but for our purposes this summary is enough, at least for now: the truth is that the collaborator did what he did not have to and did not do what he had to, the consequences are there to see ,he puts his life at risk, he is a bad example to others, he damages the work of others, and therefore ours.
And it's a very clear truth to our emotional system, which lightning-fast triggers the proper codes for dealing with it, fight or flight, and the related emotions, anger or fear: the system of the other, of the collaborator, "copies" the emotional data, and draws its conclusions, is under threat, and in turn activates the same ancient codes, fight or flight, the same emotions, anger or fear.
Unless he/she gets to meet us already "inhabited" by those emotions, probably aware that they did something they didn't have to, that they didn't do something that were supposed to... difficult match.
In the management of negative feedback, the emotional system puts us in check, blocks the way in the direction of obtaining the recognition of Helper, urges hostile reactions of our collaborator, makes any technique an external ritual, little effective if not counterproductive.
One suggestion, years ago, was to focus at least 3 positive strokes of the collaborator, before meeting him, while preparing to administer negative feedback, so as to differently orient our mood: not that it does not work, but also in the best case the effects are limited, temporary, and can be missed well before we complete our task.
We need a more effective, radical, direct, always ready-to-use solution based on our current systemic knowledge.
The emotional system is ancient, and works with simple algorithms, with simple rules, suitable for simple problems, not complex problems, thoughts and ideas are not its business, except after our other systems have put them into play.
Our starting axiom, in a word: survival.
Each of our smallest elements, each of our system, results of the evolution of biological life, embodies obedience to this purpose, the Postulate of the Best comes simply and directly from the starting axiom:
logically, necessarily, each of us, at every moment of our lives, always does but the best, can do nothing else.
We are machines, built to survive, every action we put in play is, at any moment, our best possible action: the collaborator did not do what he/she had to, broke even two rules... and this is the best thing he/she MUST do at that moment.
Exactly: he/she MUST do what we classify as a violation of key-rules, because it was the best thing he could do at that time.
Again and always: he did his best, she did her best. Like us, like everyone else.
Maybe not their very best.
The distinction may seem subtle, but it is not: their best is not equal to their very best, the difference is in time and perspective.
Time - quite possible that we could verify, or imagine, that the employee, in similar circumstances, has done much better in the past than now: the point is that we are looking at this moment, this event, in the specific time in which it was produced, and in this moment what we see is the effect of its best.
Perspective - except for strong pressures, each of us is in his perspective, and we judge the best or the worst from our perspective: we must absolutely hold firm that we must also see things from thier perspective, and that the Postulate of the Best ( each one can do but one’s best at every moment of his life) applies to each one in one’s own perspective.
The alarm must be heard, even voluntarily sought, enduring the pain of the signal, which can initially be robust, and which strongly pushes us to act immediately.
With training things improve a lot, the pain becomes imperceptible, but at the beginning it may be tough.
To voluntarily listen to the alarm means to put into play our other systems, and our knowledge of the functioning of our systems: on the one hand, the alarm confirms that we are working well, and it is good news, it is a good start. The co-worker didn't do what we need, alarm went off, everything's fine. And now... keep still.
Keep still, except of course when keeping still we endanger the physical life of someone, ours or others’: and in that case let’s limit the action to what is indispensable to preserve life, nothing else.
He did his best, and, understandably, we don't like it, we don't agree, we can't accept it: the two things are not incompatible, it happens all the time.
It is essential for us to be able, by training ourselves, to hold this truth still: it is truth that is not good for us, and it is truth that has done its best.
Our emotional system likes the truth, and the simpler it is, the more it likes it. The other has done his best, as always, no one can do anything but his best.
We deal with the damage and the consequences after we have “fixed” the other, always and anyway: only after doing this, we can take care of the rest.
Of course, beware: it is not enough to think of the Postulate of the Best, it must get the approval of the emotional system, its brand-truth, its certificate of approval.
We have the certificate of the emotional system when all the objections have been resolved, no new objections are raised, and we feel, for our Other, that precise emotion that everyone feels when we authentically acknowledge who does his best, who tries so hard.
So we take off "spontaneity"?
Yes, we take away that spontaneity that we don't need, and we keep what we need, the benevolence and acceptance towards anyone who does one’s own best, even when it can't make us happy.
So opening the way to understanding what really shakes us: it's not the other one, even if it has to do with the other, it's another thing, it's about us.
And by getting rid of the search for the 3 positive strokes, we don't need it anymore, now we have the Best.