Handling opposing opinions with humility

Humility109 Correction
Stupid idea…???
How often have you been in a business brain storming meeting and thought: “What a stupid idea” as you listen to your colleague, or thought: “That will never work.”

What is important here is that you don’t let these inner thoughts allow you to slip into being disrespectful in that moment. By saying “That’s a stupid or silly idea,” is disrespectful. Saying, “That’s an interesting idea,” is dishonest.

Jean Piaget (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean_Piaget) studied how human beings grow up. He tested children through a block painted green on one side and red on the other. Facing the child, he held the block between them with the green side pointed toward him and the red side pointed toward the child. When he asked, “What color do you see?” the child always answered, “red.” Then Piaget asked, “What color do I see?” Most children younger than 5 years old answered, “Red.” They were incapable of recognizing that other would see something different from them. Older children gave the correct answer. They understood that while they saw red, Piaget saw green. They demonstrated a sense of perspective, the ability to appreciate another’s point of view. Many so-called grownups have never developed this skill.

Many people have forty+ years of experience in being three.
An adult child never questions their perspective; because they believe that they are right, and whoever disagrees with them is wrong. It is their way or the highway.

True employee engagement
Businesses that have true employee engagement have a culture that ‘no idea is stupid’. “Stupid” is an arrogant opinion, an unskillful way of expressing that an idea is not liked, understood or see the potential in the idea has not been seen. Whatever the reason, you can be sure that its proponent does not think the idea is stupid.

Arrogance vs. humility
The opposite of arrogance is humility (from the Latin “humus,” meaning ground.) A humble person does not place themselves above others; they do not pretend to hold a privileged position. Humility is the acknowledgment that you do not have a special claim on reality or truth, that others have equally valid perspectives deserving respect and consideration. Successful businesses have mature teams that have and understand the importance of humility.

Different persepctives
There are many ways to look at the world, and each way has its brightness and its blind spots. Only humility can integrate diverse perspectives into an inclusive view. Humility makes sense intellectually, but it is not our natural attitude. It requires, at least, the cognitive development of a six-year-old.

What age is the humility in your business?
If you feel that it needs to mature then please contact us.

Trisha Proud
Partners in Solutions Ltd


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  • Jenny Garrett (@JenniferGarrett)  On April 29, 2013 at 4:21 pm

    Loved two things you said in this post Trisha, some of spend ’40+ years being 3′ and ‘the opposite of arrogance is humility’. Two thoughts that I’ll hold with me.
    Arrogance has been the down fall of many an organisation and so has adults throwing their ‘toys out of the pram’, so to speak. A reminder to stay in ‘adult’

    • trishaproud  On April 29, 2013 at 4:28 pm

      Jenny – Thanks for the feedback and glad that you enjoyed the read and took something away from it.

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