June 2020
ISSUE 148
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Perspective


With so much happening on the world stage at this moment, among these, the Covid-19 pandemic and black lives matter movement, it has prompted me to pause and reflect on the importance of understanding the perspectives of others when we don’t have the ‘lived’ experience.



How we make sense of the world and see our roles in it is a result of our upbringing, our experiences and our interactions with others. They are the lenses through which we look out to the world and our perspective or worldview is arguably the single greatest aspect of our uniqueness. Therefore, the ability to appreciate different viewpoints broadens our perspectives



The skill of perspective taking is foundational for relating and building relationships with others. It is also a practical way of checking our assumptions and being open to other points of view. With my clients, I use a model created by Professor Binna Kandola. Although it has six steps, it is a very fluid model apart from step one which is to suspend your own views, opinions and judgements. The other steps can be completed in a non-linear method. Here is the model:





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Suspending our own judgements is actually incredibly challenging and difficult to do, often because we use our viewpoint to justify and explain. Think about “mansplaining” and “whitesplaining”. Research has shown that the best way to support those whose perspective may be different to our own, is to listen and engage to gain insight into their experiences. It opens us up to an alternative perspective or worldview. We do not have to agree with the different perspective, but it gives us insights and appreciation. The beauty of this model is it can be applied in many differing contexts- generational, race, gender, religion, sexual orientation or anything else where there are differing opinions. I encourage you to experiment with it and see if it helps you make better sense of a situation.


 
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Podcast:

Tom discusses control as an illusion, what it means and the important aspects that a leader needs to help them navigate challenges and issues beyond their control.



Click here to listen



 

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Book Recommendation:

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The Value of Difference: Eliminating Bias in Organisations, Binna Kandola (2009)

The topic of diversity has been seen as increasingly important by government, public and private sector organisations, the media and society generally.While the desire to treat people fairly and with respect can be considered an ingrained value across the globe there appears to be a disconnect within our workplaces.
Organisations spend much time and effort on creating strategies, identifying champions, setting up network groups and carrying out training. However, despite this effort over many decades, it is widely acknowledged that progress has been slow.

Based on research carried out by the author and an extensive review of the literature, Kandola attempts to take a different perspective on this complicated topic. It is based on human behaviour and psychology. In order to understand how organisations operate we need to appreciate what drives human behaviour. Why do we choose to affiliate with some people and not others? How do our attitudes drive our behaviour?

The Value of Difference explores topics that are very rarely discussed in organisations but are ever present: prejudice, bias, privilege and power. It probes why prejudice exists and how it manifests itself in workplace practices. It also presents the findings of research which demonstrates that it is possible to eliminate our unconscious bias in relatively straightforward ways. Kandola’s book provides insight and practical guidance for individuals and organisations on how these complex issues can be addressed.


 

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