Upside Leaders Accept and Appreciate Multiple Perspectives

For most of my life I’ve been recognized as a challenger and an independent thinker whose views are counter-culture and counter-intuitive.

It’s important to have people in your circle who see the world differently – and challenge your thoughts and beliefs.

I’ve invited guest writer Suzanne Dudley-Schon to share her brilliance in this week’s Upside Thought as she is someone who has the ability to do this for me.

Suzanne understands that the beingness of leadership matters more than the doingness of leadership. You can take all of the tactical leadership actions that generate success and not be a leader worth following.

This week, she’s written about truth and new perspectives.  

Happy Reading!

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Truth… much like beauty, it seems to me, is in the eye of the beholder. Our lenses and personal experience influence what we perceive, combining to give us our sense of what is true. This is what I would call personal truth. 

As with Schrodinger’s cat experiment, we can’t necessarily grasp the total objective truth because we are always limited to our own unique lens. 

What I’ve been thinking about is the trend toward unwillingness– a kind of refusal to allow for other perspectives and other truths. Expression contrary to one’s claimed view stokes an animalistic perception of threat. What lurks underneath that reaction is the fear that if it might be so that this “other truth” exists or has validity, it somehow nullifies our own.

If we use a macrocosmic lens, we can see how this mindset is all-or-nothing, binary, if you will, and stimulates a deepening experience of “us” versus “them”.

Once divided, it’s primal to perceive and label “them” as different and thus dangerous. Fear presides, compassion diminishes. Even the notion of middle ground vanishes. 

When you add in morality, it gets even more complex. Because when moral certitude veers into absolute certitude and gets braided into a belief, that belief becomes incredibly resistant to change. It’s almost impervious. The bearer of that belief can wield it as a weapon.

I grieve as I witness this certitude play out in deeply upsetting ways ranging from bizarre hypocrisy to public character assassinations, cancel culture, violence, and polarization. Entrenched misunderstanding breeds suffering. Internally and externally. 

While I observe this, I also include myself.

We as a people seem to be forgetting the limitations of our own perceptions.

Ironically, in forgetting our limits, we limit ourselves. When we shut out others, we shut off a funnel of ideas and access to resources. We unwittingly diminish potential and opportunity. We disconnect from our limitlessness. When we “clam” up, we miss out on the miracles beyond our shells.

After all, if we only see from our window onto the world, we fail to see a lot! There is a bigger truth that we all share. If we imagine ourselves as individual, unique and essential pieces of a grand puzzle, then it is in coming together that the picture becomes whole. A Greater, a Bigger Truth–inside of which we are all connected.  

So, how does this relate to business and organizations? The concept of acceptance and appreciation of multiple perspectives it is at the very core of a healthy work culture. Where diverse opinions and ideas are voiced and valued, you generally find an environment that is vibrant, rife with creative solutions and willingness. Further, the notion of a “greater truth” is similar to having a shared mission; members work together guided by shared principles that keep them unified as a team. 

ACTION: The Upside Challenge… In your business or personal life, identify something you hold as a truth.

Venture to find someone who sees things differently. 

Ask them how they came to their perspective. Listen with curiosity. Only listen.

Notice what you are thinking and feeling as they share. What can you learn about yourself? What did you learn about the other person?

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