When I got my first job, like many graduates I was highly pumped-up, excited and committed to deliver to best of my ability. I love ticking along my tasks as soon as possible, put extra hours to get things done. However, one of the things that I struggled was why others can’t see what I see or ‘why others can’t see reality?’ I often wonder, how management can take such stupid decisions. I was not sure that why problems that I flag never considered seriously. I used to argue to death and assume that I know the reality.
Well, after a while; things changed and I got some wisdom with experience. Things which I considered reality were actually my view point (or opinion). Over time, I have learn to listen, get others view point to get 360 degree view of situation or problem.
Unfortunately, I find many experienced people around me still mixing reality with view point. The result is they often find themselves in fight, freeze or flea mode. I find them often fighting for their point (fight). Sometimes, they don’t agree but they don’t contribute to discussion (freeze). Other times they leave the discussion altogether (flea).
I am sure we all know but let’s define reality and view point:
Reality is proven fact supported by some hypothesis or statistics. For example, “Earth is round”; “We inhale oxygen and exhale CO2” etc
View point is a concept, thing; situation looked from individual’s mind. For example, “Apple has a best service”, “It is very cold today”, “Project Manager does not communicate enough” etc.
If we don’t differentiate them clearly we often ask for more trouble.
Now, what should we do to separate Reality from View point? The easiest thing is to self-observe and be self-aware:
Determine clearly if the point you are raising is reality or your view point
Determine if you are ‘arguing’ or ‘discussing’ your point. If you are arguing then it is probably good to move towards discussion or dialogue.
Observe your emotion – Are you trying to win the argument?
Are you getting personal?
Is your ego ruling the discussion?
Generally, our minds give us 2D picture of a concept or a situation (view point). If we want to look at 3D picture then we have to ask others about their viewpoint with open heart and mind. In business and in personal lives we should never underestimate value of viewpoints.
Good leaders do not just listen to their direct-reports. They take extra step and talk to employees at different levels within organisation. Some CEOs also go on path of working undercover. Listening to others helps to broaden our thinking and helps to look at the big picture.
Same is true in personal lives as well. We will have better relationships if we listen and understand viewpoints of our spouse, parents and children.
Probably following could be good resolution for the New Year:
“By Jan 2015, I will be a proficient listener who understands and appreciates other’s viewpoint.”
I am sure once we practice this skill, world will be a much better place for us and for people around us!