Own My Growth

Helping folks with practical tips to manage themselves better

Understanding Perspectives

Often during some coaching conversations around conflict resolution, I bring up this question to illustrate an interesting point.

“What does ASAP(as soon as possible) mean for you?”

Its absolutely fascinating the range of responses I get for this question

ASAP-1 hour, 5-6 hours, 1-3 days, 1 week, 2 weeks.

Imagine this- A person whose idea of asap is 1 hour wants something done asap from a colleague whose idea of asap is 2-3 days and they are not very communicative.  What is the likelihood of mismatch in expectations between the two? Very high, right?

Most often, in both our personal and work arenas, we encounter issues of potential conflict because there is a clash of perspective-that view point I have about something. Communication gaps are rooted in these differences of perspective.

“I thought you wanted this done in a week, you were never specific. You never told me you wanted it in a day. I assumed know you were OK if I came back to you in a week!!”

All of us have our own unique point of view in the way we see the world around us. My life experiences, my values, my beliefs, my state of mind and a whole bunch of other variables go into shaping my perspective.

This in turn defines how I think, behave, act and react in a situation. If this is true for me, it is also true for everyone else I interact with.

 When I understand where the other person is coming from, I can moderate my behavior, action, expectations leading to more productive and efficient interactions.

I need to be curious and interested in knowing the other person’s perspective.

  • Why is he behaving the way he is?
  • What is the thinking behind her actions?
  • What exactly is the expectation here?
  • Are there any issues the other person is facing, that I need to be aware of?

I also need to be proactive in communicating, seeking clarity and avoiding ambiguity.

Ultimately, its about putting myself in the other person’s shoes.

Try this, for fun. Reflect on some conflict or challenging conversation you have had with someone. Close your eyes and imagine your point of view towards the issue. Now shift the image in your head. Imagine yourself to be the other person and see the same issue from the perspective of the other person- what do you see, what do you feel?

“I cried because I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet”.

Sometimes, the vanity of my viewpoint pales when the truth of the other person is revealed.

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