Some people exhibit such a need to be right that they can’t stand evidence to the contrary. Do you work with someone like that?
These are the folks who work overtime to prove others wrong and disparage anyone who has a different point of view. This type of communication stance makes team communication difficult because it sends most discussions rapidly into debating “right” versus “wrong.”
People with the leadership gift, however, listen completely and respectfully to speakers representing different views.
Why? Because they know that “right” and “wrong” is always relative. They don’t fear different points of view: they know different points of view offer new opportunities to build and expand, rather than to threaten each other with extinction.
Consider this. What’s right in your _______ (fill in the blank: family, department, culture, classroom, market, organization, religion, etc.) may well be wrong in another one.
Judgements of right and wrong always emanate from a particular point of view that is based on values, beliefs and attitudes, which are always relative.
Take for example a relationship between marketing and engineering (as bodies of knowledge, or as divisions in a company, take your pick). Marketing and engineering come from and operate within very different points of view which, sometimes, have great difficulty working together.
But marketing would have nothing to sell without engineering, and engineering would have no niche for their product without marketing. In fact, each is only part of – and add value to — the bigger picture and requires the other part for completion.
To adopt the leadership gift theory of relativity, consider all of your knowledge, ideas, and opinions as functions of your unique perspective or point of view.
Consider each other person’s knowledge, ideas and opinions as functions of their points of view. All are valid and true. Some are more applicable than others in certain circumstances. But all are equally valid and true in their own realms.
The fun part of life and of practicing the leadership gift is taking every opportunity you can to integrate your point of view with as many others as you can.
To do this, though, you have to be willing to hear, and validate, all other points of view. And not just when you agree with them — all the time.
Get Started With This Week’s 5-Minute Practice Tip:
Remove “right” and “wrong” from your vocabulary. Replace the words with “works” and “doesn’t work” — as in “that works for me” and “that doesn’t work from my point of view.”
Try it for three days and see if you can feel the increase in your team power.
Want more practice?
If you want to learn a lot about yourself, pay attention to your own point of view, especially when different from others. It will help you discern your beliefs and values.
Christopher Avery, PhD, is a recognized authority on how individual and shared responsibility works in the mind and an advisor to leaders worldwide. Build a responsible team (or family) and master your leadership skills with The Leadership Gift Program for Leaders.