Leaders Seek Compromise to Forge Progress
At Bovo-Tighe we set great store in the Pursuit of Truth as a foundational leadership tenet and mindset. As a leader, you recognize that you don’t know everything, and cannot make good business decisions without truthful input from your collaborators. You demand that your assumptions be challenged to stress test them. You do not dismiss perspectives of others without giving them respect and due consideration.
A quote caught my eye this week that captured the challenge of applying this mindset successfully. These words were written for a different purpose, to encourage dialogue after this month’s presidential election. So I am taking them slightly out of their original context, but they capture how a great leader seeks truth when working with co-workers, whether employees, peers or superiors.
“Talk (and listen) to someone with whom you don’t agree. Ask questions about anything that doesn’t sound right to you. But don’t just fight back. Try to listen. In fact, before you respond at all, carefully repeat back what you hear — just to make sure you truly understand the other person. Then share your own views and feelings. Be passionate. But be compassionate, too.” (Van Jones)
Those last few words resonate. Passion and compassion must coexist. People can listen, agree, compromise and adapt without devaluing their own ideas and motivations, nor those of their collaborators.
Another quote from Victor Lipman in a recent Forbes column struck the same note about the critical need for a leader to have collaborative skill:
“I always felt one of the most valuable qualities in management was the ability to collaborate, the ability to work productively with people you may not fully agree with. Nothing of substance in business is ever accomplished without many people touching it. Effective executives invariably recognize this.”
The most enduring solutions to problems are those forged through compromise among the involved or impacted players. These solutions gather a broad range of support from many stakeholders, ensuring that most possible threats to success are spotted early, and all affected parties are on board and working to see the plan through. Decisions made by fiat (that is, by leaders of one with little consultation) labor under the risk of a challenge from a powerful constituency that was not brought into the decision-making process, and doesn’t share your views.
What can we do to help you build up collaborative skills, and develop a true Pursuit of Truth mindset?