Conflict. Some leaders find it scary to hear the other side. Some refuse to recognize it.
Leadership can not be about surrounding yourself with those who always agree with you. Confirmation bias, although easier, does not allow all voices to be heard, and thus not all solutions to be found.
I hear a similar story in much of my travels: I can't say that!! My voice will not be heard!! That won't go over well!! Is this what people say about you?? What is the venue, the process, the way that you allow conflict to happen in your organization? How do people know they can disagree? What happens when they do?
Create a welcoming process that avoids confrontation. A whiteboard. An online venue. A listening party. Those with thoughts different from yours, need time and space to be heard....and they need it to be a place that you AREN'T so that the confrontation is taken away. People, as they are developing relationships with you, need space to breathe, and need to know they can be honest before those hard conversations can take place face to face.
Build time for conversation with those who don't agree with you. You will learn something. You might even change your mind, but if you don't, at least your next decision will have that differing thought included in your process.
Give value to the dissenting opinion and make it a part of the decision making process. A humble leader who shows value to the process and best answer, will build confidence, build rapport, and build trust not only with this individual but all those in your organization.
There are too many leaders, and the organizations they lead, who have no welcoming process for disagreement. Listening and welcoming disagreement is not giving away power, but instead gaining access to the things that are valuable to your people. Allowing healthy disagreement will give you great strength in making the best decisions for those people and in turn, your organization.
Weddings are a beautiful thing. I always find it funny that we are asked which side we wish to sit on. We choose, not in opposition, but instead through comfort and relationship, a side in anticipation of the celebration of the bride and groom walking, hand in hand, down the aisle, joined as one....potentially to celebrate their lifelong union....but maybe just to get to the cocktail hour!!
It has been a week!! If we have learned one thing in America this week is that we have some differences. We sit on opposite sides of the aisle. Shouldn't we be in anticipation of the times the two sides can come together, walk down the aisle, and head to the party?? We don't have a chance if we let fear and hate burn the church down and take everyone inside down with it. Our hateful rhetoric and fearful actions are burning the church down.
The stone cold reality is.....there will ALWAYS be two sides of the aisle. We sat on opposite sides as the wedding began, but we came with the goal to watch the two become a stronger, better one. I am not interested which side you sat on when you arrived, but instead how you will act at the cocktail party after. True leadership is about EMBRACING our differences, ENGAGING our differences, and EXPLORING solutions. We must lay down our weapons of words, and pick up the power of the human spirit, inviting EVERYONE to the cocktail party...even that strange uncle who came to the wedding without an invitation.
My hope for our leaders and our citizens is that we are bold enough, strong enough, wise enough, and selfless enough to leave some things in the car before we come in the ceremony, so that everyone can focus on the MOST important thing.....the union of two strong, different, and capable people to begin a new...not perfect...but wonderful adventure together. We have many weddings ahead of us. In each case, let's work to get to the cocktail party...and maybe even the dance floor to celebrate the best in all of us.
Thanks for stopping by. These are musings on how I see leadership in the world and how I continue to try and grow through my lens.