From the Post: People, the good, the different, and what don’t I know?
Before you try to change or fix something, try to understand someone’s opinion and view first by asking yourself this question, “What don’t I know?”, then open a space where people can talk about their views, thoughts, fears, or feelings, and listen.
- Before I launch this new change model, ask yourself, what don’t I know?
- Before I have the next one-on-one conversation with my staff member, ask yourself what don’t I know?
- When everyone seems to be frustrated in the meeting, ask yourself what don’t I know?
- Before the conversation gets heated with your significant other, stop and ask yourself, what don’t I know?
Ask yourself this question as well, “What do I know?” You may know more than you think. Add that knowledge that to what you discover when you find out what you don’t know and a lot of things may become more clear. Asking the right questions and actively listen can be an incredible leader skill to practice.
If you want good communication establish and maintain a safe space and start by clarifying your perception of the situation. Remember your source of truth lens is different from everyones else’s, so be patient. Nobody’s wrong, everyone just sees it differently. This is what makes us uniquely individual, don’t take that away from anyone.
In learning events after I talk about how each one of us is different because of our source of truth lens, I use this illustration:
I say, “I’m sitting in a meeting and the presenter tells a joke. The person to my left is laughing their head off, the person to my right is grimacing, and I think the joke was in bad taste. Which one of us is wrong and which one is right?” People usually take a few seconds and someone very quietly says, “no one???” I ask them to tell me more. They usually say that’s because everyone sees the world differently.
I tell people if a chance of conflict arises this creates an opportunity to step back and ask, “Tell me more.” Then engage your active listening with the intent to understand their view or position before you react or respond. This does not mean you have to agree or change your view, it demonstrates your wisdom in understanding all side of a conversation.
The real challenge is to get everyone to engage system 2 before system 1 runs amuck. This is your chance to get your team to practice the question “What don’t I know?”, together. Tell them before they react to ask themselves that question. Also tell them to understand that you don’t have to change your viewpoint, you are creating a space to practice curiosity to understand someone else’s viewpoint by sustaining judgement and in return someone may graciously ask you about your viewpoint. This is your version of getting them to count to 10 and you now know why.
The better everyone understand the situation and how others view the situation, the better the communication can become. Got’a start somewhere so start practicing yourself so you can model the behavior you would like to see everyone else do. Remember, this takes patience and deliberate practice.
Don’t wait for tomorrow, tomorrow never comes. What you have is today and this is the best time to begin anything.