03 Aug Perception is it your Reality?
“One has not only an ability to perceive the world but an ability to alter one’s perception of it; more simply, one can change things by the manner in which one looks at them.” – Tony Robbins
Perception vs. Reality. Has perception become your reality in your workplace? In an article posted January 10, 2018, Their Perceptions vs. Your Reality, looks at “how Americans today view conflict along racial, class, generational, and geographic lines from the perspective of younger vs. older adults.” The interesting point is “millennial’s, those under the age of 35, report significantly higher levels of conflict today related to race (73%) and age differences (46%) than the older generations.”
The article goes onto say “Leaders need to be sensitive to perceived conflict, and leaders from older generations need to recognize their perceptions aren’t shared by workers from younger generations.” Additionally, “millennial workers, the largest generation and the one shaping society and culture going forward, think race relations are a point of conflict in the nation. Meaning as a leader you need to be sensitive to it in the workplace. You may think racial conflict is not any worse off than in the 1960s or 1990s, but that’s not how younger people are seeing it. They think it’s bad and needs attention today.”
My post today is about how leaders can use this information to approach and mitigate possible disruption in the work place.
New Definition for Diversity
First, let’s look at diversity in a different way. Re-frame it – Diversity now means “Different than me.” Using this definition we can begin to ask different questions to help us become more collaborative. By re-framing ‘our perceptions” we become more inquisitive about the other person’s perspective and break down our associate barriers. We gain a better understanding of the other person’s point of reference and experiences which enriches our relationships and builds upon ideas.
Secondly, by re-framing ‘our perception of diversity’ it helps us become more fact based and collaborative. We become scientists and investigative problem solvers and increase our value to organizations. For example, in science there is a hypothesis (i.e. the current perception of a situation or an idea), through experimentation and research (asking open-ended questions, testing and learning, while including additional resources in the ideation) information is gathered. This helps us prove or disprove our current hypothesis. Through this process leaders become coaches and employees become active and empowered problem solvers.
In the Japanese culture there are three words that come to mind: Sensei, Kaizen and Gemba. Sensei, a person of authority and teacher. Kaizen, a philosophy of good change and improvement. Gemba, go-look-see to understand. In my experience the combination of these three words provides us with a well-rounded definition of a leader. A leader is a person of authority and subject matter expert, who teaches the philosophy of change in a positive way. A leader goes to – looks at- and sees – what the other person is talking about to better understand their perspective about the issue at hand. Through this process the leader leads and teaches the employee how to lead.”
Unlock the Potential
Re-framing our perceptions, asking good questions, and leading through learning helps to unlock the potential within organizations. An organization changes when people recognize what has to change within themselves. We only have control over changing ourselves. This means we all have to become better at identifying the barriers we have, the perceptions we place on others, by asking better questions and being better listeners. It’s about listening with purpose and understanding. It’s about caring about the other person’s perspective, and gaining insights into the contributions we each make to the betterment of the situation.
Become a leader from within yourself, and develop a followership through compassion, relationship building, and being authentic. Open your mind and heart , to populate the organization with change agents for the culture. Good organizations have someone who perpetuates this type of leadership within the culture of an organization. Be the key to unlocking this potential within your organization.
If you need help, call Gail Kulas at Leading to Unlock, LLC. We have the keys to help you unlock the potential profits, savings and leaders within your organization.