Every day we are bombarded with messages that we don’t agree with. The resulting conversation might sound something like this: “I think this is the better way.” “No way! My way is better!”
What is your habitual reaction to ideas you don’t agree with?
I know what mine is. I want to correct what I see as an obvious error, and point out why my idea is correct.
Unfortunately, when we immediately resist ideas that don’t seem correct to us, we are cutting ourselves off from many opportunities, and we might be creating interactions that end up looking like the one below. If we are in a leadership position, we are also conditioning our people to avoid sharing ideas with us. This can be devastating to the performance of our team.
A new habit I’ve been working on whenever I hear an idea that I disagree with is to simply say, “That’s an interesting way of looking at that. Could you tell me more?”
There are several interesting results to this approach.
First, we get exposed to a whole new way of approaching an issue. So, even if we still don’t agree once we’ve heard more, our minds are a bit more open to other possibilities. This can help us to be more creative.
Second, the person with whom we’re communicating will feel heard. This results in them being more open to our view (should we decide to share it).
Third, communicating in this way builds trust and deepens our influence with the person.
All of this makes it much easier to lead. We are sending the message to our people that we will always at least listen to and respect their ideas. This is absolutely essential if we want to have a team that is creative and innovative.
Finally, if the idea is really not a good one, people will often realize it for themselves as they talk it out. And, some great innovations have been based on ideas that weren’t so good on their own, but amazing when integrated with another idea.
What are ways that you get people to share more about ideas that you don’t agree with?
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