Hear all sides or how not to be drawn into conflicts as a leader

Hear all sides or how not to be drawn into conflicts as a leader

Hear all sides and you will be enlightened. Hear one side and you will be in the dark.
Wei Zheng (580-643 AD)

We all perceive the world around us through our own lenses. The same holds true when people are in conflicts. They see the situation through their own lenses and have their personal truth of the situation. For team leaders it is important to be aware that there are as many truths in a conflict as there are people involved.

Conflicts unfold their own specific dynamics. As conflict specialists point out the perception of the situation of the conflict parties gets more and more restricted. So, our own truth covers less and less of the entire situation. This is a psychological coping strategy, enabling us to handle the stressful situation. To the same end people in conflicts try to convince others around them of their perspective and start to seek coalition partners.

So, it is not so easy not to be drawn into a conflict.

To hear all sides means

  • 👂 taking your time and taking equal time to hear both parties
  • 👂 empathic listening: being open and receptive towards their concerns, emotions, and experiences; and their respective truths.
  • 👂 with the focused aim to be able to assess what will be the best way forward to start on the path of settlement
  • 👂 with an impartial mindset, not favoring one side over the other; without rendering a judgment on the conflict or providing a solution.

Hear all sides means: take their concerns seriously by way of being on neither side and being on both sides.


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