Does it seem to you that much of the communication that happens today is polarizing, intended to divide us? If the topic is politics, opinions seem to have become more extreme than in the past. Even on social media, friends throw out their thoughts without having to defend them with facts. Maybe we feel the need to dramatize everything to gain and retain viewership. Sadly, whatever the reason, it seems that communication has become increasingly polarizing.
Additionally, a difference of opinion often escalates to personal attacks and combative conversations. Insulting someone publicly in news media and on social media seems to be a regular occurrence. Therefore, we need to remember that just because we see this happen regularly doesn't mean we should engage in that dialogue.
A Little Respect Goes a Long Way
While we certainly won't agree with everyone, we need to be willing to listen to the views of others even as we respectfully share our own. We must show that we care for others, even if we don't agree with them. Regardless of their opinion, everyone deserves respect. Even when we are passionate about our opinion and bold in sharing our thoughts, if we are open to the fact that we could be wrong, it will keep the conversation safe. Who knows, we may even learn something!
Because communication around certain issues has become so polarizing and emotional, we often avoid those conversations with people we know may not agree with us. I have personally failed twice in the past week on this issue. In one instance, I didn't keep the conversation safe and squashed the dialog. In the other instance, I was afraid to discuss the topic for fear of offending the person. After these experiences, I learned an important lesson about communication. I encourage you to always start a dialog respectfully, with a mindset that accepts a difference of opinion and a heart that cares personally about others. As a leader, we have a responsibility to allow others to be heard and respected. Fostering an environment that healthily encourages dialog and debate will gain you knowledge and respect.
Keep leading the Interstates way.