One Mindset Change to Boost Your Mood and Build a Stronger Workforce

Maija Hoehn

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Written by Maija Hoehn | EVP, Engagement

If there has ever been a time when we need to be kind to others, it’s now. As we enter what feels like the millionth COVID-19 wave in the U.S., anxiety and anger are at an all-time high — and people have a shorter fuse than ever before.

Kindness can be shown in a myriad of ways, but one of the simplest forms is believing the best in others. This mindset can be transformative — both personally and professionally. Five years ago, I learned a phrase that has made it easier for me to spread this idea: Most Respectful Interpretation (MRI).

Putting MRI into practice

In its simplest form, MRI is trusting that others are coming from a place of good intent. It’s reading an email that is short and emotionless as, “this person is really busy” vs. “this person is rude.” It’s assuming that when someone passes you in the office and doesn’t say hello, it isn’t because they are purposely ignoring you, it’s because they’re deep in thought about a hot project. It’s recognizing that when your friend hasn’t returned your text in a couple of days, it’s not because they don’t care about you, it might be because they have been caring for a family member. It’s trusting that others are inherently good. And while that might not always be the case, it sure feels a lot better than focusing on the reasons their behaviors might be bad.

Benefits of MRI

MRI is another lever to pull when working to build a stronger workforce. It can lead to more productive teams, better interpersonal relationships and increased respect. It’s an easy way to remember to be empathic, which can create more authentic conversations rather than going into discussions with unfounded assumptions.

The benefits of practicing MRI in my everyday life mimic some of the same benefits mindfulness offers, including:

  • Reducing stress and anxiety
  • Having a more positive outlook about the future
  • Enjoying stronger, more transparent relationships with others
  • Practicing a growth mindset

The next time you get frustrated by the car tailgating you or the colleague who doesn’t complete a task on time, I encourage you to use the MRI filter when examining the situation.

When we view the world through an MRI lens, we can better control our own mood while giving grace and support to others.