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How To Understand And Respect Different Perspectives In Leadership

The great thing about our own worldview is that we believe it. In fact, we have to believe it to function.


Even though we know that everyone sees the world differently, our quick-thinking brains rarely consider this, especially in stressful situations.


As well as having our own worldview to contend with, there are our in-built biases that reinforce our views and behaviours. So how can we understand and respect different perspectives in leadership?


Worldview Reinforcing Biases

According to Decision Lab, the following are worldview-reinforcing biases that are particularly relevant to leaders:


  • Anchoring bias – we go off first impressions

  • Bandwagon effect – we go with the most popular decisions

  • Cognitive dissonance – we don’t like changing our beliefs

  • Commitment bias – we stick to past ideas even when they are wrong

  • Confirmation bias – we notice things that agree with our beliefs

  • In-group bias – we favour and are drawn to people who are like us

  • Mere exposure effect – we prefer and are drawn to the familiar

  • Naïve realism – we believe the world is as we perceive it to be

  • Status quo bias – we prefer things to stay the same

  • The Illusion of Explanatory Depth – we think we understand the world more than we do


Combined with our worldview, our biases work against us as we try to comprehend how to understand and respect different perspectives in leadership. But as we become more aware of the different ways people see the world and see that our own view is often flawed – which is reinforced by our biases - as leaders, we can begin to appreciate the views of others.


But why is it important to uncover how to understand and respect different perspectives in leadership?


Respecting Different Perspectives in Leadership for Making Better Decisions

One reason is that we make better, more informed decisions whilst also avoiding critical errors of judgement which together bring about better outcomes when we respect different perspectives.


Groupthink is typical in a scenario where a lack of different perspectives can lead to significant negative consequences, as outlined by Psychology Today. In a situation where everyone begins to think the same way and where different perspectives are not respected, critical information and risks can be ignored and sometimes aggressively opposed.


In addition, having a wider range of diverse views around the table means that a more real-world representation can be achieved. Without this, it is possible to believe a perception of our organisation and world that is not true and base our decisions on this falsehood.


Respecting Different Perspectives in Leadership for Improving Relationships

As we respect other perspectives, we increase our organisational relationship value. Relationships often impact our competitive advantage, as how teams relate together is a significant factor in how they perform.


When we consider relationships in how to understand and respect different perspectives in leadership, the degree to which people can bring different perspectives to work and still feel like they belong is important.


  • What is the level of belonging in our teams?

  • What are the norms that people have to conform to belong in our organisation?

  • How do people bring their unique selves to work rather than have to mask views and perspectives?


The Harvard Business Review found how important belonging is to our organisations where 40% of people feel isolated at work. Those organisations with high belonging had a 56% increase in job performance, a 50% reduction in turnover risk, and a 75% drop in sickness absence.


Reflective question: Do people feel like they belong in our organisation because they conform to our norms, or because they bring their unique selves and perspectives?


To build the essential ingredients of belonging and trust we first have to respect other perspectives. If we value relationships to bring about competitive advantage, increase engagement, and aid retention, then we must also value and respect different perspectives.


Once we appreciate the benefits of respecting different perspectives for decision-making and relationships, we can begin to not only respect different perspectives but also promote them as the highly valuable resource that they are.


Understanding Different Perspectives in Leadership

This is the classic ‘walking for a day in someone else’s shoes’ analogy and it can be a challenging process. The key elements of this process are:


  • Being able to let go of our own views and put them to one side

  • Being able to control our ego and the need to win an argument

  • Developing empathic listening skills

  • Developing curiosity about others and their views

  • Being humble and knowing that our view is flawed and incomplete

  • Developing empathy


It is important to try to understand other peoples’ perspectives before communicating our own perspectives. As Stephen Covey famously said, “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.”


Employ Core StrengthsTM Profiles

To understand different perspectives in greater depth, using a profiling tool can both accelerate the process and offer unique insight.


The Core StrengthsTM profile together with a professionally accredited practitioner can guide teams and individuals through their results to understand different perspectives, motives, conflict triggers and strengths. It also allows us to consider how we could adapt our communication and expectations depending on the particular perspectives someone holds.


But the key aspect in how to understand and respect different perspectives in leadership is the ability of the Core StrengthsTM profile to help us walk in someone else’s shoes and see the world from someone else’s perspective.


The Leadership Coaches provide Core StrengthsTM profiles and training as an essential way to lead in understanding different perspectives.


Contact Us Today

In this blog, we have explored how to understand and respect different perspectives in leadership. In doing so, we have seen how respecting different perspectives improves decision-making and relationships.


We have also explored the key elements required to understand different perspectives and how Core StrengthsTM profiles can help us ‘walk in someone else’s shoes’.


To find out how our expert coaching services can support you in understanding and respecting different perspectives in leadership, book a free consultation by calling us today.


We are also accepting submissions of interest to complete a complimentary Core Strengths profile with us, including a professional debrief. You can submit your interest to zoe@theleadershipcoaches.co.uk


Sources

‘List of cognitive bias’ by the Decision Lab

‘Groupthink’ by Psychology Today

‘The Value of Belonging at Work’, by the Harvard Business Review

“How to put yourself in someone else’s shoes” by Psychology Today

Core StrengthsTM profile

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