Looking for Common Ground
My father loved poetry. As children, we were taught to recite poems on our cross-country drives to see the grandparents. I’m amazed how often one of those poems will cross my mind when I’m faced with a work situation. For example, when a client was lamenting that his team lacked interpersonal skills, the poem “It Isn’t the Church, It’s You” popped into my head. The point of the poem was to change one’s perspective and take responsibility to become part of the solution to create the environment that one wants. This is what the team leader needed to hear.
How often do we stand in judgment rather than look for where we are similar or in agreement? It’s easy to dismiss others who are not in lockstep with us. Doing so, however, will eventually put us in a losing proposition on multiple levels – employee engagement, results, innovation, growth… the list goes on. When we look to find areas where we can work together and bring diverse ideas into the mix, opportunities will appear.
Let’s go back for a minute to the client who perceived his team lacked interpersonal skills. Digging deeper into the team dynamics, it was clear that there were old patterns of authority in play. Many had grown up in a “command and control” system which didn’t allow the luxury of interpersonal skills. Once this was discovered, the team leader was able to engage in creating an environment which fostered communication and cooperation. He couldn’t have done this without being open to finding common ground and understanding.
This Week: Think about a challenging situation at work and look at it as an outside observer. Explore the different positions and viewpoints. Where do you see common ground? Brainstorm ways you can build from that junction.
Your Journey of Leadership
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