Fooling Ourselves …


Alley - Morguefile.comI could see matters only from my own closed perspective, and I was deeply resistant to any suggestion that the truth was otherwise.  

Leadership and Self-Deception, The Arbinger Institute (2010, pg. 16)

A closed perspective is like walking down a long, narrow tunnel.

You may see something at the end which appeals to you, but you are unaware of most other things that exist in the situation or environment.  

You know only what is already visible from your restricted viewpoint.

You see the light at the end of the alley, but not the speeding traffic coming from the side …

A closed perspective often arises when you are either unaware of other possible ways to consider an issue or topic, or do not want to be exposed to anything which might challenge your already-declared and deeply-held notions.  Neither is a valid or useful reason for remaining ignorant, but both are popular.

When we are operating out of a closed perspective, what we say is often reactive, threatening, or dismissive.  We may sound like this: 

“You’re crazy!” or “That’s an idiotic idea!”

“Can’t you see why this is (or ‘I am’)  right?”

“I don’t need proof.  I just know I’m right.”

When we are open to other perspectives and willing to listen with the intent to understand, we sound more like this:

“I see things differently and here is why.”

“That is an interesting perception.  Tell me more.”

“What makes you believe this?”

I hope you can instantly see which approach sounds more reasonable and collegial.  If reason and collegiality are accepted as positive and productive, the best approach is obvious.

Too bad more people do not actually choose the best approach …

Sometimes we believe that “sticking to our guns” and presenting a strongly-held and firmly-entrenched position is perceived as placing us in a stronger position than being open to discussion, civil interaction, and coming to the best possible understanding.

Keep these thoughts in mind as we slog slowly through the electoral season.  By the way, if you have not already read Leadership and Self-Deception, you should do yourself a favor and do so soon.   This book provides much more than just another look at leadership traits and behaviors.   It is based on some quality thinking about how human beings act, interact, and perceive.

Just a suggestion:) …

Listening to too many political debates and speeches in the Heartland ….

John

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