I like to think of myself as skilled in discerning potential in other people. I also prefer to think of myself as someone whose first impression is usually correct. I have navigated through numerous resumes and interviews by relying on these assumptions.
Most of the time I am accurate. The team members I have hired are hard-working individuals, all of whom possess distinct personalities that add character and depth to the workplace. Even the quiet man I hired a few weeks ago brought a dry humor to the team, effecting a nice balance to the more raucous of the bunch.
I recently learned that I was wrong about someone. I had determined a dislike for the man, and I felt he was arrogant, insufferable and unhelpful. My judgment was not only incorrect, I found that I was grossly mistaken. And in seeing how very wrong I was, I am humbled. And in being humbled, I somehow feel like a better person.
This may sound rather odd at first, so here is a way to restate the situation: I understand that I was wrong, regretful that I had harsh thoughts, and I know why I had those harsh thoughts in the first place so that in the future I can correct my thinking.
I worked for a man nearly 20 years ago who noticed that I was rather ashamed of having made a mistake at work. He was the most successful project manager at our company, and quite a wise man. He said to me, If you make a mistake, tell me. He was very straightforward on the subject, in contrast to my previous boss who was overly dramatic and rather tendentious to hissy-fit-throwing and the like. The calmer, rational discussion allowed me to be a flawed human being and grow from experience, while the hysterics bred fear, repugnance and avoidance.