We are a divided country right now. There appear to be so many reasons we are more committed to holding our ground on opinions we already have than on developing our listening and understanding skills.
How did we get here?
There have probably been signs pointing in this direction. As individuals we understand that our thoughts create our emotions and our emotions inspire our actions which produce our results. Unless our organizations are made up of automatons, it would stand to reason that they would be directed by the same principles.
Yet somewhere we seem to have lost the heart and soul of our corporate entities. This appears to be true of our educational, religious, governmental and our business institutions. We’ve allowed fear to overtake our ability to truly communicate and connect. We’re afraid of retaliation, of what others will think of us, of making mistakes … maybe of fear itself.
If we as corporate entities are not allowing our humanity to be present, why should we be so surprised at what keeps showing up in our spaces?
Are we so afraid to make a mistake that we are paralyzed into doing nothing? Several wise people throughout history understood that the only people who never made mistakes were those who never took action.
Yet what action should we take? When the task is too monumental, humans can become frozen by indecision.
Don’t wait for someone else to tell you what to do. Get involved in your own community, whether that is your family, your workplace, your town or wherever you have the opportunity. Instead of drawing a conclusion about an emotionally charged topic (pick one – we have so many right now), seek first to understand. Open a dialogue instead of pushing an opinion. Come from contribution and curiosity and be willing to suspend your assumptions for the purpose of learning, if only just in one interaction.
Some ways to do that are with phrases like:
“I’m curious about that. Tell me more.”
“Help me understand your position.”
“That’s interesting. Why do you see it that way?”
Remember, too, that body language and inflection are both huge parts of the entire communication experience. Be aware of your authenticity with the purpose of your communication. If you’re connecting in order to be right instead of to understand, intuition will give you away.
Let’s explore the possibilities that will allow us new outcomes instead of hanging on to the probabilities with which we’re already familiar.