See it from Their Side
If there’s one thing I know about myself, it’s that my perspective is often tinted by rose-colored glasses:
My idea is probably the best one. My opinion is probably the right one. My way is probably the only one.
Now, I would never articulate that, either out loud or in my head (even typing those sentences just now cranked my inner cringe factor up to 12), but if I’m honest, that’s the way my posture often comes across.
Maybe yours does, too. And like me, you don’t like it.
So what if we flipped it? What if I took a minute to get on the other side of conversation and look at the problem from the other person’s point of view? What if I viewed my posturing through their eyes? What if we took time to lay down our arguments and took the effort to really understand theirs?
On our staff, we operate under a plumb line of assume the best, which is shorthand for “assume our co-workers are smart and have good intentions.” I’ve almost never seen the embracing of that plumb line go wrong, but when it’s jettisoned, it rarely goes right.
Today, you and I are going to face disagreements with friends, with family, with co-workers. Most of them will be minor and inconsequential, but a few might be bigger deals. What I’ve learned is that most every problem gets resolved one way or another, but how we treat the person in the midst of the problem … that stuff will last.
What if we committed right now to take a moment during the debate, figuratively cross the line to the other person’s perspective, and take the time to look back at our own? It may not change the outcome of our opinion or the way forward, but it’ll certainly change the nature of the conversation.