I try to give individuals the benefit of the doubt when they fail to meet expectations, such as discussing the issues, helping to come up with solutions, and offering accountability to help them in the future. After living with dozens of people over the years I'm well versed in the excuses people use to shift blame or challenge the agreed upon expectations they signed at the beginning of their lease. I always tell them the same response, which is, "Show me with your behavior that you understand, not your words".
People are masters of manipulation, we've been doing it since we could cry as babies. The trick to avoid being manipulated is to pay attention to actions, and rely less on words (although written communication should always be conducted with decorum). In my experience, after age 30 is when most people have trouble with mental plasticity. They start to lose the ability to learn new ways of doing things that they've been able to get away with for so long.
As a boxing coach, the ability to adapt is incredibly important, especially in the more competitive divisions. I remember fighting a southpaw (lefty) and having more difficulty than I've ever had up until that moment. I had reached a point in my boxing where I could beat most of my opponents with my usual (righty) style; however, I noticed that whenever I fought this individual that I would struggle. He managed to draw blood from my mouth and cause many injuries that took days to heal from. I yearned to discover how to defeat my opponent without paying such high costs in fatigue and injury...
One day while practicing with my friends, my left shoulder started to hurt and in order to continue sparring I had to do something radical. I switched to southpaw in order to use my right arm to jab. It was initially uncomfortable, it definitely felt unnatural, but at least it did not hurt. I stuck with it until I happily discovered that there was a whole new world opening up to me as a boxer. I had completely ignored the unorthodox angles and techniques that boxing left-handed was teaching me.
While training for a competition many months later, I met my left-handed sparring partner once again. While waiting my turn in line to spar, I noticed that he struggled with other southpaw fighters since he was used to fighting mostly right-handers. When it was our turn to finally fight one another, I casually switched to southpaw and was able to pick him apart easily. By adapting to his mirror image I had learned the secrets of turning the table on my opponent which took away his advantage and gave me the ability to demolish him (and the rest of my sparring partners that day). He left with a bruised ego and a broken nose.
The ability to adapt requires the humility to admit to oneself that what I am doing is not going to work. It requires introspection, self-awareness, and the intelligence to figure out which strategy will work.
I look for these qualities in my residents. When there is a problem, we address it. Give them opportunity to correct their behavior; however, when it is clear that the individual is not able (or willing) to change I am forced to remove these serial boundary crossers from the environment.
- Luke 13:28