Have you ever been in a conversation with someone who didn’t understand you? It’s like this: you are trying to explain your view or position on a certain subject and the other person just doesn’t get it. They try to explain their view or position to you and you DO understand it. You can see their view, but they can’t see yours. Has that ever happened to you? –well, of course it has! It has propbably happened to most of us. It can be one of the more frustrating things to happen in relationships: business and professional. So, what can you do? What can you say to help the other person understand your position?
First, recognize that in this situation YOU are the leader. You hold two views of the subject (whatever it might be): theirs and yours, while they only hold their own view. In that moment, you become the leader. You see more. Now, you can decide what kind of a leader you want to be. Do you want to be an angry leader who lets the frustration lead to yelling or criticism? –or a passive leader who just walks away? –or Do you want to be a kind and compassionate leader: one who listens and remembers to love the other and try again? Much depends on your choice. In fact, everything that will happen in the moments following your choice will be determined by which leader you choose to be. Only then, can you engage in a clarifying conversation with the purpose of mutual understanding.
“Yes, I believe I understand your position. Is this it? . . . ” –now paraphrase your understanding of their position. When they agree that you correctly understand their position, they will be FAR more likely to try to understand yours. This can only happen with kind, compassionate and loving leadership.
As leaders, we love because anything else limits the conversation. Love opens it. We say to ourselves and to everyone else: “I care about what you think, please tell me.” We can become the leader in ANY situation simply by being willing to understand someone else’s point of view. We can say “yes,” instead closing the door with a “no.”
In that opening, true resolution becomes possible and innovation springs forth. True creativity begins with a loving embrace of what is so in this moment.
Try it! I’d love to hear about your experiences. Please feel free to comment on this blog, or send me an email at [email protected].
You may also be interested in my book: Integral Leadership: The Next Half-Step, available on Amazon.