Walk a mile in someone else’s shoes

By August 29, 2013Learnings

If your message is misunderstood or you are experiencing conflict with a member of your team; Stop, take a breath and before you respond in exasperation, consider the other person’s perspective. It is likely that your colleague has had different experiences with the issue you are tackling, may have different perspectives on the best solution, may have additional information that you’ve not seen or may have different assessments of risk. If they are of a different nationality or gender they may also have different cultural norms, standards and expectations.

Too often we simply assume that others have our same standards, cares, fears and motivators.

Taking a “walk in their shoes” requires you to ask questions for greater understanding, not blame. Whilst you may still reach the same conclusion, your willingness to consider their assessment demonstrates that you are really listening to them. This respect and sense of feeling heard will engender loyalty in your colleagues rather than resentment, resistance and anger. It will signal that you are not closed to new ways of doing things and that you are willing to negotiate and may adapt your proposal or strategy.

Resources:
First, break all the rules. What the World’s Greatest Managers do Differently, 2005, Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman
Working it Out at Work: Understanding Attitudes and Building Relationships, 2009, Julie Hay
Talking from 9-5: Women and Men at Work: Language, Sex and Power, 1996, Deborah Tannen

I invite you to reply to me below or call me to discuss on UK +44 (0) 20 7226 3611 or +44 (0) 7952 068133

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