This month’s issue of Fortune has an article titled The Best Advice I Ever Got. They asked 25 business and government leaders to share the advice that most influenced their lives. I scanned through it quickly, but one piece of advice stuck in my mind. It was from Indra Nooyi, the CEO of PepsiCo.
The advice, which Nooyi received from her father, was assume positive intent. She explains:
“Whatever anybody says or does, assume positive intent. You will be amazed at how your whole approach to a person or problem becomes very different. When you assume negative intent, you’re angry. If you take away that anger and assume positive intent, you will be amazed. Your emotional quotient goes up because you are no longer almost random in your response. You don’t get defensive. You don’t scream. You are trying to understand and listen because at your basic core you are saying, ‘Maybe they are saying something to me that I’m not hearing.'”