It’s high noon and onlookers gaze in silence as you stand in the middle of the town, staring down your challenger with one hand hovering over your holster. Strangely, a disagreement in conversation often feels like a duel in the Wild West, where one person absolutely has to come out on top and assume control over the crowd and the discourse.
But reality doesn’t have to be this way. For dialogue to be meaningful and yield creativity, there has to be some level of compassion, and it has to come from all parties involved in the conversation—especially the leader.
A Fistful of Ideas
You have to ensure and promote the diversity of opinion. Compassion and creativity go hand in hand, and what better way to maximize both than by collaborating with as many contributors as possible, like employees, customers, partners and expert solvers. You’re the sheriff of your story, and it’s up to you to give everyone in town the equal opportunity to contribute a fistful of ideas.
For a Few Ideas More
You have to talk the talk and walk the walk. It’s not enough to acknowledge an idea and then not go through with it. As a leader you have to cowboy up and support your words with tangible actions, which is why for a few ideas more you have to cultivate a risk-averse culture where contributors feel valued and empowered to express their creativity.
The Good the Bad and The Ugly
You have to leave your ego at the door and go into a conversation with an open mind. This kind of leadership ensures that everyone engaged in the conversation is a fearless gunslinger in their own right that’s capable of dissent. Don’t let contributors conform to your beliefs; let them draw their own ideas, regardless of whether they’re good, bad or ugly.
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