Human beings are emotional creatures. Our day-to-day interactions and perspectives prove this. People need perspective because they usually will not find perspective arbitrarily on their own.
As many of you know I’m an advocate of youth sports but more for sports to be a tool to teach how to overcome challenges or teamwork or learning about yourself. As my son gets ready to go off to college next year there are people who are still talking about their son or daughter getting a scholarship for sports. There are specific examples of where they are choosing less than stellar academic institutions to continue to play sports. I have no problem with this quite frankly if it’s a kids dream go for it, but what’s happened to our society when parents brag about their kids sports accomplishments but never ask anybody else about their child’s grade point average. This is a clear example of where we lose perspective.
When we think of the word change it usually conjures up a negative connotation or reaction among employees. When was the last time you heard somebody say “Oh goody change is coming” when they heard about something new at their job? Now I’m going to share a really rough example but what if you worked at a business that produced and serviced typewriters 20 years ago would you honestly want to continue to work at the company because they did not impart change?
Think of somebody in your company who seems to always react negatively. They are good people and genuinely nice to be around except when they get in a meeting or are faced with some type of challenge this behavior seems to come out. More times than not people will ignore sharing this perspective with this person because they want to avoid conflict; therefore, the person never gains perspective.
The other day I had a great conversation with one of our clients about their employees who are typically in the millennial generation. She said were really struggling because they want to gravitate so fast to new things our culture is just not set up or ready to do so. I asked the human resource manager if they had provided perspective on why that’s not always a good thing to these millennial’s? She responded with "I had not thought of that" which means those employees will never ever gain traction in understanding certain things if we do not take it upon ourselves as leaders to lend perspective to them.
So how does a leader lend perspective? How do we provide perspective in a way that somebody receives it well and utilizes it strategically to improve? It is so easy to simply tell somebody that they are acting negatively or they should act another way but very few people respond well to being told what to do. It initiates a very emotional triggered reaction. On the other hand, questions serve as a great tool because they’re disarming. Most managers are used to telling people what to do versus grasping and practicing the art of questioning. Here are five questions you can use to allow somebody to gain perspective no matter the situation:
1. Do you mind if I ask you what your intent is and possibly the perception you may be giving off?
2. If somebody were here that was your best friend and they had to describe your reaction honestly how do you think they would describe the reaction at this point?
3. Hypothetically, if I were to tell you that I see a battle of perception and intent when you react to certain things how would you react? This question gets the conversation started in plants a seed about the battle of intent and perception.
4. What risks might you be taking by doing it that way? This is an aggressive question that plants the seed of risk associated with a particular behavior.
5. What is your core objective and how do you think you can more eloquently present it so people are accepting? This question alters someone’s presentation in terms of being too aggressive and learning perspective as to why that will not get them what they want.