Appreciating Differences

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Appreciation is a valuable mindset and practice that supports harmony, empathy, and growth. It involves both valuing and recognizing the unique perspectives, experiences, and contributions of others. 

This week, we explore the practice of appreciation through valuing others. Taking time to gather information, listen to various viewpoints, and seek a thorough understanding of factors at play has various benefits: It allows for a more nuanced and informed perspective, promotes better decision-making, and enables problem-solving. 

Appreciating differences involves recognizing that diversity exists in various forms – cultural, social, ideological, and so on. When we view differences as barriers or threats, we not only miss a chance to acknowledge and respect them but may also come off as dismissive. 

To practice appreciation – with the goal of ensuring people feel valued and empowered to contribute their unique insights and talents – try the following: 

  • Cultivate empathy: Put yourself in the shoes of others to understand their perspectives and experiences. 
  • Practice active listening: Give others your full attention, listen without judgment, and seek to understand their viewpoints. 
  • Educate yourself: Learn about different perspectives to broaden your understanding of their environment. 
  • Challenge biases and assumptions: Reflect on your own biases and be open to questioning assumptions. 
  • Engage in dialogue: Foster open and respectful conversations with people who hold different views to promote mutual understanding. 
  • Seek common ground: Look for shared values and goals, emphasizing things that unite rather than divide. 
  • Celebrate diversity: Recognize and appreciate the unique strengths and contributions that others offer. 

Appreciation as an ongoing practice requires continuous self-reflection. By appreciating the full understanding of a situation, embracing differences, and acknowledging others, we expand the impact of our leadership. 

Be on the lookout for next week’s blog when we explore recognition as another way to show appreciation. 

This Week: When confronted with challenging differences, try the “2% Truth” hack by opening your mind and trying to find at least a small bit of truth in that situation. Even if something seems mostly untrue for you, this attempt to truly understand another’s perspective—instead of mentally or even verbally rejecting it—helps demonstrate your appreciation, even if you are not 100% in agreement. 

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