Perspective-taking is a critical leadership capability. The ability to view things from a different perspective can facilitate productive debates and helps us tackle issues, and builds trusting relationships. The ability to consider a variety of perspectives is crucial to the process of resolving conflicts. When people are confronted with difficult circumstances, their view is usually one of the primary things to be eliminated because they get ensconced in their perspective and become less able to perceive other perspectives.
Leaders are aware of ways to improve their perspectives, for instance, through brainstorming, understanding feelings, or even putting themselves in someone else’s shoes. But there are three more important questions that leaders could ask themselves to broaden their perspectives, mainly if they are in a conflict.
Q1 Also, when asking yourself, ‘What are my options? What’s my BATNA?
If you’re faced with a challenging circumstance, it’s beneficial to contemplate or write the possible solutions to think through other options. It is even more efficient to take a cue from the negotiation toolkit and look into the BATNA term, coined by Fisher and Ury in their classic work “Getting to”Yes.” BATNA refers to the “best option” to an agreed settlement,’ i.e., what’s your plan in case there is not a way to reach an agreement?
Although BATNA is BATNA is most commonly employed in contract negotiations. However, it is also engaged in situations with a likelihood of conflict in the workplace if you have to have a difficult discussion with a coworker about an issue you’ve received. If that is the scenario, considering the possibilities before discussing them could be beneficial. The goal (negotiating a settlement) could be the coworker agreeing to speak directly to the offended team member. Your ideal solution (or BATNA is to convince everyone involved to participate in an in-person mediation or group facilitation to get the issues out of the way. The worst scenario (or WLATNA) could be that the employee decides to complain. The most likely option (or the MLATNA) is that your colleague wants you to be there for the discussion.
The advantage of looking at BATNA, WATNA, and MLATNA is that it opens the door to more comprehensive analysis and decisions. This approach can help you consider the various implications of an action plan instead of being enslaved to a single result.
Q2 In addition to asking, “What am I feeling?” What am I feeling? Am I feeling it?
Self-awareness is crucial in all situations, particularly when navigating conflicts. Recognizing your feelings, like anger, discontent, sadness, or anxiety, can help to understand a difficult situation.
Concentrating on the location, you are experiencing these sensations is also beneficial. The body can provide a wealth of information if this knowledge is discovered. Somatics is a way of understanding that the body and mind are inextricably linked and that the body is an innate part of the thinking process. Amanda Blake, somatic coach and the author of “Your Body is Your Brain,” speaks about the brain that is distributed. It has millions of neurons in the digestive tract and the nervous system, as well as 95 percent of serotonin. This hormone regulates mood, found in the digestive tract. The distributed brain is the only component in the nerve system that can control brain-generated messages.
Blake asserts that your body’s functions and moves influence your thoughts and emotions. The body can be utilized as a tool to change the way you think. For instance, a manager may feel stress in the shoulders or stomach after meeting an employee with whom they share difficulties in their relationship. Relaxing and controlling their breathing throughout the subsequent meeting could significantly affect their mood and mental state, allowing them to be more willing to listen to the perspective of their coworker.
Q3 In addition to saying, “Can I put myself in another person’s footwear?’ ask, “Can I go through the closet for clothes?’
It could be a common phrase, but being able to put oneself in the shoes of another can be very beneficial. Imagine what the other is feeling and thinking and why they may have said the things they did. It can help develop empathy and gain a broader perspective.
If you want to take this an additional step: don’t only go through a single shoe, but look through the entire rack of shoes. There are so many methods to go about this. The first step is to look at the situation from different perspectives. This could be done, for instance looking inward or upwards of the subject. What would a younger version of me think? What might I like to look at when reflecting on this experience? The ability to visualize the future may help you in gaining a sense of scale by imagining how you’ll feel about this situation in the next couple of years. Next, consider considering the issue from other perspectives. What is your boss’s opinion about it, or an admirable colleague or loved ones? Thinking about multiple options keeps us from being glued to a single point of view and allows our minds to be greater flexibility in thinking.
Three questions that broaden the perspective of a person will allow leaders to look for the possibility of learning in any circumstance. Not just learning about other people and their opinions however, but also about oneself. The mind and body work in a single way, and adhering to the ‘BATNA’ could suggest that navigating the path of leadership is just equally at ease in the shoes of someone else as it is in our favorite loafers.