Pride vs Communication, Don’t Fight With Your Team

The Hatfield Clan

I watched the Hatfield and McCoy miniseries this weekend and was disturbed by the events portrayed. I had heard of their feud, but I hadn’t learned much about them.
These feuding families lived in West Virginia and Kentucky in the 1800’s. their feud lasted for almost 50 years. So many unnecessary deaths resulted.
The patriarchs and leaders of the families were ultimately responsible for this feud because of decisions they made. Two major factors that I observed in my brief study of their fight were:

1) Pride
2) Lack of Communication

The leaders of the families were too proud to forgive. They were too proud to ask for forgiveness when they made a mistake. This pride led to deaths on both sides. They were too proud to admit they were wrong, and to appear weak to the other family.
On the side of communication, their pride played a role here too. If they would have humbled themselves to explain their positions, if they would have communicated what was happening, they may have been able to avoid some of the bloodshed. For instance, one of the fathers, Anse Hatfield, took his son out “fishing” and he fully intended on killing him because he thought his son was spying for the McCoys. He didn’t, it ended up being a miscommunication, but still, the thought that he could even go to that point made me think hard. I thought, how clearly do I share information with others. The stakes were high back then, and problems arose because they didn’t communicate.

I know I have let myself get defensive (or prideful) when receiving criticism. I immediately try to explain why I did something, even if, after looking back, it was wrong. My first instinct is to defend myself, “How could I make a mistake?” That’s something I have to overcome for sure.
I have been taught to over-communicate. When in doubt, I try to share more information with my team. They may be able to help solve a problem I’m facing. I have a tendency to keep things to myself for the most part, so this takes some effort for me. I have found when I try to over-communicate, usually, it ends up being just enough info for people.
I have had feuds in my office due to pride or low levels of communication. It has gotten pretty ugly at certain times, enough that once there was a judge involved and surprise witnesses and a twist to finish. But that is a story for another day.
I want my clients and team to be invested in my vision, but I can’t do that if I don’t share it with them. While the stakes are not as high in my business as they were in 1880’s West Virginia, I still need to pay attention.

How do you handle criticism?
Do you communicate enough with your team?


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