By Angela Nuñez
Productive, drama-free conversations are important to the long-term success and wellbeing of any organization. Most people begin conversations from a place of advocacy—persuasion in favor of their own needs, desires, and/or beliefs and from their own point of view. Entering a conversation in this way leaves very little room for growth, change, or collaboration. A better attitude with which to approach conversations is one of open-mindedness. You should still value your view, but be open to the fact that you may be missing something. If everyone in a group has this attitude, there is much more room for innovation and growth. In this way, employees can express their view as a possibility but not the only answer while listening with an open mind to alternative views.
This approach is much more likely to lead to problem-solving than if everyone simply argues his or her point of view. You can start having better conversations by adopting this attitude and inviting responses after you’ve expressed your point of view. If you don’t understand where someone else is coming from, ask him for further explanation and be willing to hear his reasoning. A balance between assertiveness and open-mindedness leads to better conversations and more productive, healthier relationships both at the workplace and outside of it.