Being open-minded can be really challenging at times. Most of us are brought up with a set of beliefs and values and, throughout our lives, tend to surround ourselves with people who share the same values and beliefs.
At times, it can be difficult when we’re faced with new ideas and perspectives that challenge our own and, though we intend to be open-minded, we may struggle to be genuine about it.
There is much to be gained from opening the door to your mind and letting new ideas and beliefs come in.
What can we do as leaders, to view our world and the people around us in an open manner?
Stop being a control freak!
When you open your mind, you free yourself from having to be right and in complete control of your thoughts. You need to allow yourself to experience new ideas and considerations. It’s OK to challenge the beliefs you currently have.
Listen More Than You Talk
Winston Churchill once said that courage is what it takes to stand up and speak, but courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.
This idea of listening to stay open comes back to Stephen R. Covey’s 7 Habits: Seek first to understand, then to be understood.
We don’t learn any new ideas while our own mouths are moving. We learn when we listen intently, thoughtfully, and silently. Stop typing. Stop texting. Stop multitasking at all. Listen genuinely and seek to understand the other person talking.
Encourage a Dialogue
The respect you hold for another person should be obvious, and with it, your enthusiasm for creating a meaningful dialogue should be evident as well. If you can hone this skill, your ability to communicate, to hear, and to share fully and with an open mind will increase many fold.
Thank People for Their Suggestions
Whether you agree or disagree with someone, be sure you always thank them for their point of view. No one likes to be proven wrong, but appreciated for their thoughts and respected for their ideas.
A great way to do that is simply saying, “Thank you so much for sharing your perspective. I truly appreciate it.” Make sure you are sincere about that exchange. People don’t buy into a phony.