CHALLENGING YOUR THINKING

I have been working with a coaching client for a number of months and as a way to close off the sessions I conducted a meeting with his boss. During the meeting we were discussing harmony in the team and I asked how disagreements were dealt with. He said he didn’t like conflict and there were people that dealt with the conflict but overall he aimed for maintaining a level of harmony.

This intrigued me, so I probed a little further and asked if he did not encourage challenging the status quo on the team. I then made reference to Edward de Bono’s different Thinking Hats, having different colours, people playing different roles, etcetera. Within the context of a team, one where people who can actually bring a diversity of thought, somebody who can look at different perspectives, people can actually bring different viewpoints. I mean isn’t that the whole idea of reaching good solutions?

I think I challenged his thinking. It certainly provoked him. I suggested to him that perhaps if he had a certain level of constructive discussion or certain level of what I call creative tension in the team, that may bring out better ideas. Of course, we want the team aligned however we also want them challenged and alert. For me this highlighted just how important a diversity of thought is and what it can bring to a team in terms of perspective and solution finding.

Do you as a leader seek out alternative points of view? Do you as a leader reach out to people perhaps who have a different perspective, who may have a different viewpoint, be it from a cultural perspective or from a functional perspective or from their level in the organisation

Here’s my reflection point for you. Do you as a leader seek out alternative points of view? Do you as a leader reach out to people perhaps who have a different perspective, who may have a different viewpoint, be it from a cultural perspective or from a functional perspective or from their level in the organisation?

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