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Debate Can be Enriching and Energizing

joy at work management Jan 20, 2021

Written by Roxanne Brown

When you're surprised to learn that your colleague thinks very differently than you, that’s a good time to get curious.

“I wonder why they feel that way? I wonder what life experiences brought them to that point of view?”

You won’t know the answer because you’re not them but it’s the right mindset for exploring and expanding your perspective.

Differences in opinion stemming from a wide set of life experiences between you can be a good thing at work. Often, what appears to be an impasse, upon deeper discussion can reveal that in some ways you’re not that far apart. You may use different words and place emphasis on different points but the essence of what you value is likely very similar, if not the same.

Debate can be enriching, energizing and lead to unexpected innovations if people are kept safe in the process, meaning, they don’t hurt themselves, each other, or those that are not present in the debate. You can debate and grow trust at the same time by listening and demonstrating a willingness to learn from each other.

How do you make it safe for your colleagues to share their points of view? How do you demonstrate your open-mindedness?