Today’s dot is written by Lauren Carlin from Hilbert College’s Leadership Applications class:

Often as I am in my car sitting at a red light I find myself looking at the other people on the road or people next to me. I wonder who they are, where they are going, what their life is like, and what their story is. Have you ever thought about the amount of people and their intricate lives that you pass on the highway each day?

If so, you are experiencing a word called “sonder.” Sonder is the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own. This is truly an amazing enlightenment when you contemplate it.

No two people have will have the same background, think the same or live the same future. I recently went on a mission trip to a poor area in the Dominican Republic. I was astounded by the amount of happiness the people possessed with the little they had. Despair to one person may be contentment to another. It all depends on each individual’s way of thinking. I believe life is 10% what happens to you, but 90% how you react. You may not be able to control the traffic or the weather; however, what you can control are your emotions, what you say and the actions you take.

In a leadership position, being aware that each of your followers’ lives is just as complex as your own will strongly impact the way you lead. Suddenly, different opinions, ideas and views are shared and expressed. You will never always know what the people on your team have been through in their past or what they are currently going through. That sense of curiosity will always be the multifarious mystery of the human race. The only thing you can control is your personal response.

Treating your followers with respect and kindness when providing inspiring feedback will create a positive environment, and, in time, your team will grow intellectually stronger and more productive.

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