As a leader, how do I learn to accept other people’s points of view more gracefully?  I get cranky when others don’t get it.

Regardless of whether you are a leader or not, accepting other’s points of view is a human activity that each of us can do – and, in my view, is in short supply in the world right now.

What might be interesting to “learn” is not to accept other’s opinions, but to accept their right to have their opinions. Which of course, they have.

On getting cranky when others don’t share your opinion, I’m wondering if you (like many of us) do not like to have to disagree with others?

Life is easier when others agree with us. Which is why there’s so much talk recently about “echo chambers”. we hang out in places where we are going to hear our own points of view echoed back to us. Because trying to keep our own point of view out front as the RIGHT point of view – having to continue to express it, trying to have someone else see, understand and agree with our perspectives (not to mention getting them to let go of their own point of view and accept ours as the most correct pov) – well, that is really hard work.

Most of us are not trained or practiced to have conversations in which we fully hear and understand another’s opinion while not losing our own view. Most of the time, if the other person doesn’t accept our view, or won’t let go of their (clearly wrong – in our opinion) point of view, we either write them off and walk away, or we let things get ugly (devolve into arguments, childish behaviors, resentments, etc). If you are a leader, neither of these behaviors are effective for leading a high performing team.

When faced with a difference in opinion that matters to us, and we let things become ugly, we can become angry, surly, irritated and annoyed with our own lack of ability to not just give up our point of view, still fully hear the other person and have a civil conversation. And, we usually turn this annoyance with ourselves into an irritation towards the source of our discomfort (the person with the different opinion). Hence, crankiness.

Next time this happens, ask yourself:

1. If I take the case that I’m not upset that they have a different opinion (be willing to try on this point of view for a minute), what might I truly be upset about? Be willing to be very real with yourself about your answer.

2. Does what I’m truly upset about really have anything to do with the other person? (Let yourself skip past the very first answer that comes to your mind).

3. What practice might I take on when I find myself in situations like this, so that even if I have a bad mood, I don’t rub it off on anyone else?

This will take some practice, but soon you’ll find these questions come to mind without having to work on them and you’ll move through the spaces of your upset faster.