Time poor managers (and that’s pretty much all of us) want to find the best solution as quickly as we can. This means that we often become frustrated when we bump into people who have a different approach to the one we want to take. The thought just pops into your head: “This guy is an idiot”. “This woman has no idea”. “This is just stupid.”
Yet failing to consider the alternative point of view is often counter-productive. By not investing the time to listen and explore alternative views, you often end up missing great ideas. More importantly, if you are trying to create a collaborative high performance culture, it won’t happen. People who are not given airtime will eventually close down and stop offering ideas. And then they’ll leave.
If you’re serious about being a high calibre leader, you need to ensure you ‘Perspective Take’ every time you are talking to someone. You need to learn to stop yourself going into judgment mode before you have a clear understanding of the other person’s perspective. Rather than concluding they are wrong, stupid or misguided, ask yourself the following questions:
- Why would a reasonable person hold this alternative view?
- What information or experience do they have that is causing them to think differently?
- What might I be missing?
Explore where they are coming from before you dismiss them as time wasters.
In my experience leaders who do this develop better relationships and ultimately make better decisions. But you don’t have to rely on me. Research at the Centre for Conflict Dynamics at Eckerd College and elsewhere suggests that leaders who master the art of Perspective Taking get better results and are seen as more capable and effective by their bosses, colleagues and team members.
Have a great week.