Reduce Conflict & Improve Outcomes by Gathering More Viewpoints
Courtney Lynch, November 5, 2018
Here are some thoughts to consider:
Effective leaders maintain a sense of consistent openness to what is unknown to them. They are especially adept at doing this during times of challenge, change, and trial.
It’s easy to accept that it’s impossible for any of us to know everything about someone or something. In theory, we recognize that perfect knowledge and awareness is unattainable.
Yet, in times of conflict, our behaviors often indicate a less than best acceptance of our inability for total understanding. Instead of acknowledging what we don’t know or being open to examining the different thoughts, theories, ideas, and perspectives of others, we often seek to prove how much we know or how our viewpoint is superior.
Reflect on a recent conflict with a family member, colleague or friend. As you recall the circumstances, examine how much of your thoughts about the matter have centered on your “rightness,” the sharpening of your position, or the hurt, anger or frustration you feel. Now consider how much time you’ve spent on seeking to understand the other person’s viewpoint; why they might be responding as they have or demonstrating certain emotions. Often, the more significant the conflict, the more we become captivated by bolstering our side of the story versus practicing openness to seeing the circumstances from other viewpoints.
When our ratio of time spent proving our point versus being open to the points of others is lopsided in the favor of self-confirmation, we limit our ability to influence outcomes and inspire others.
The next time you sense conflict or disagreement with someone else, don’t avoid it or get blinded by the will to win. Instead, recognize that conflict is a healthy way to gather more viewpoints. It’s something to be encouraged and when experienced well (meaning you demonstrate accountability and respect when engaging), it increases your leadership learning and performance.