It may seem like a difficult task in today’s landscape to work with or be around others who have differing opinions, beliefs and behaviours than you. However, suppose you can find a way to look past those differences and make them work for you. If that were the case, you could have a powerful team, more loving family dynamic, more open minded network or collaborative working relationship with others that is healthy, creative and successful despite differing views.
It’s common to think you have the “right” answer to something based on your own experiences, knowledge, and conditioning; but the minute you believe your own perspective is the absolute truth you tend to stop listening to others. This creates conflict, division and a fixed mindset that stops inner growth or development of a relationship.
It’s essential in business (and in life) to learn how to work with and include the views of others who have differing opinions and do things differently than you. As a business owner, it’s important that you don’t undermine your team members or clients. As an individual, you don’t want to alienate your loved ones, friends or potential connections by openly criticizing their opinions. However, it’s perfectly acceptable to be open and honest about your thoughts and opinions as long as it’s communicated in a respectful way.
So, how do you successfully work with or stay in healthy relationships with others who have different opinions from you or do things differently?
Engage In Healthy Debate And Discussions
Take an active interest in what others bring to the table by asking them for their ideas and input. You open yourself up to the person and new possibilities by doing this. Make a point of taking away at least one piece of new information, insight or validating thought that backs your own viewpoint.
Pinpoint Areas Of Strength And Zones Of Genius
Everyone has a unique set of strengths that are different from yours. When you understand them and make the most of them, everyone contributes the best of themselves and you can achieve more. This will also help reduce the risk of competition as people feel uniquely needed in their role.
Let Go Of Needing To Be Right
Remind yourself that your opinion or solution might not be the right or only one. In fact, assume that there is a good chance that they are about, or at least 50% wrong. What would that mean in regards to the opinions and viewpoints you hold? Is there some room for flexibility in thinking?
Effectively managing different opinions means welcoming all options rather than fearing them. When two people or more have different opinions, start by viewing it as a good thing and think about how you can learn from each view. The solution may lie in a combination of different opinions.
Think About Who Shares The Same Beliefs As You
We all know the saying you are the company you keep. We are all seeking understanding and a level of belonging which can lead us astray at times. Look at the people, their opinions, their ways of thinking and most importantly their behaviours that match your values, not as a way to receive validation but to make sure you feel at home with, proud of and safe to be associated with these people and happy that others will view you the same way.
Don’t Be Rude, But Set Boundaries Like A Boss
Differences and tensions are often the results of a lack of communication. It’s crucial to communicate with intention. Share openly when appropriate, listen most of the time, have a goal to leave the person you are engaged with feeling good about you, themselves, and the conversation. Energy goes where energy flows. Do your bit to create an open and positive atmosphere.
It’s essential to learn to stay open, kind, and curious in all relationships. Each person has something to bring to the table, and when we learn to listen and communicate openly, amazing things happen!
You also have the right to refrain from discussing and debating things you feel are derailing the relationship or the atmosphere. Setting boundaries is crucial to personal safety and empowerment. Sometimes no response is the best response.
If any of these tips seem unrelatable, or not an option for you when you run up against someone with a differing view, you may need to check yourself and connect to the part of you that is not willing or open.
What In Me Would Like To Change Something In Them?
Self inquiry is always the way to better relationships. Stop looking at someone else and assuming they need to change to make you more comfortable. Understand why you would invest in judging, criticizing or belittling someone else to make them fully wrong and you feel right. Maintaining integrity, setting healthy boundaries and agreeing to disagree are all great solutions when you find yourself in tough conversations.
Meagan Saum – Heart Centered Life and Business Coach