“Is this normal?” my son asked me last week, on the first night of protests after the election.

“No, I’ve never seen it before,” I answered.

Whether you are devastated or jubilant about the election results, it seems to me that the biggest question is, “Now what do we do?” Especially as many of us feel the aftereffects of the election in our daily life, and at work.

The election was history in the making. The response is history in the making. Now how do we move forward, as a country and as leaders at work, at home, and in our communities, to be stronger? How do we find a way to work together for a hopefully greater good?

A huge part of leadership is an openness to listen and to learn. To consider other perspectives and points of view, and not necessarily only argue for our “truth.” I firmly believe that this is something that our country needs, and as leaders we can model this behavior and approach.

We can learn to be the first to ask the simple question, “Help me understand why you think that and how you see that?” We can share how we view things, and what we’ve experienced, and remember that we’re not always right and we don’t have the only “truth.” We can find a way to work together, or at least to civilly agree to disagree.

We’ve posed questions to our clients for years, when they’ve faced a challenge or a conflict. Maybe these questions will be helpful now:

  • Why would a sane, well-meaning person think, believe, or do this? (Even if you think your “opponent” is not sane, or is evil, most of them probably aren’t.)
  • How can we get on the same side of a problem? How can this be an issue we address together (rather than fighting each other about it)?
  • What do we have in common? How can I see them as someone similar to me? Or at least as a person who is passionate about what they believe, based on what they’ve experienced?

Yes, we have to fight for what we believe. Yes, we have to take a stand for what we know is right. And yes, we have to work with what is and, In My Humble Opinion, as leaders we need to find a way to speak so that others can listen and listen so that we can learn. We have to lead now, even more than ever, to help our country, and ourselves, heal.

Perhaps if we model it our country, and our country’s leaders, will follow suit.

What do you want to model now, for your team and the world?
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If you enjoyed this post, you can read more like it in our book, The Power of Thoughtful Leadership: 101 Minutes To Being the Leader You Want To Be, available on Amazon.

For support in leading as openly and truly as you can, contact Lisa at lkohn@chatsworthconsulting.com.

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