Where You Coming From Man?!…
I read a great blog post this morning from an author named Susan Mazza. You can find her at Random Acts of Leadership and on twitter @Susanmazza. It is a great post thoughtful introspective and balanced. I particularly like the questions she poses at the end as a guide to how to handle disagreements. All the listed questions are right on for a growing effective leader.
I particularly like the second question as it really attacks our ego.
2. What is at stake here – for me, for the others involved, for the larger commitments this affects – that I would be willing to take a stand for here?You see the ability to see past our own perspective and selfishness toward a vision of whether the point of disagreement has any real consequence is significant. Walk away if the disagreement is over something minor.
There is one other possible question to consider here my only suggested addition to a great post.
What can I do to truly understand where the other person is coming from?
In my estimation this is a critical step to trying to find a win-win answer. When we enter into disagreement with another person over an issue which we believe with conviction that we are right it is a serious risk for our judgment to be clouded. Certainly from our limited perspective we are right. But we must consider how right is our perspective in the first place. Perspective is made up of our experiences and learnings over time. No two people share the same perspective. So when two people look at an identical situation they conclude vastly different things. As leaders our job is to work hard at seeking first to understand the perspective of the other person. When we do we will find that our conviction and righteousness may now seem less clear that it first did.
We may yet find that we are right and they frankly are off their crank. That’s fine but now with the grace and wisdom of a real leader we can choose to correct, influence or simply walk away. Regardless we leave the other person validated, listened to and valued. All the real work of the leader, nurturing effective relationships to affect change.