Afterword: The Fundamental Attribution Error

Whenever others cause us inconvenience or pain, we have a natural tendency to suspect they have selfish motives coupled with malicious intentions.1

Grenny et al.

As I study the nine practices, I frequently encounter a theme about the need for people to make ambiguous observations clear, mainly related to behavior. Accepting ambiguity without interpretation is difficult to do. When observing someone’s behavior, you tend to act on a habit—consciously or unconsciously—of interpreting what you observe. Patterson et al. describe this process as (1) seeing and hearing, (2) telling a story, (3) feeling, and (4) acting2 (Box A.1).

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