What happens when you have a difference of opinion with someone? I got to test out that question in the opening session of SHRM18. Governor Jeb Bush opened up the conference and to be honest, I wasn’t that thrilled. I was pretty sure we had nothing in common, but as a member of the SHRM Blog squad I wanted to honor my commitment to be there AND more importantly, I wanted to have the experience of living what I share with others…..the importance of keeping an open mind.
So many times, in our professional lives, personal too, we interact with those that have a difference of opinion. Your first reaction, without even thinking, might be to internalize that everything that follows will be oppositional as well. Navigating your journey by being open to another perspective and acceptance, will give you a better quality of life. Too many times we have a tendency to not listen at all when we perceive that someone doesn’t think like we do. We take one difference and create what I call an all-encompassing opinion. It is difficult to grow like that or be successful.
Here is what I learned that Governor Bush and I do have in common:
- Treat people, all people, with respect.
- You can disagree with someone and still have a working relationship
- Don’t knock someone else down with acts, deeds or the words you use, to make yourself look better
- Be accountable for your actions
- It’s important to anticipate change to mitigate it more successfully
- We have a crisis of opportunity
To create an engaging workplace, aren’t these universal desires? Let me expand on the crisis of opportunity because it affects creating better employee engagement. Don’t forget that people instinctively want to grow. I’m pretty sure that most people don’t’ get up in the morning and say, “Today I want to be stagnant. I don’t want to learn anything. I don’t want to have a better job and feel more satisfied in the future.”
To create an atmosphere to grow and have vision of a better and brighter future, the concept of opportunity has to be apparent. To begin, all it takes is a conversation. Great leaders ask what future their workforce envisions for themselves and together develops a plan to get there. Delivering the necessary avenues for people to succeed is an integral part of creating a workforce that thrives. That in turn creates a business that is successful from the inside out.
Step outside your comfort zone. Be open to new ideas, new perspectives and participating in relationships even where there are known differences. Be skeptical of perceived disparities. Be your own editor of these thoughts and research to find out if what you think is really true. Finding our commonalities enriches the lives of everyone.