Growing Leaders: The Other Side of the Story
January 20, 2015
by Steven Grabiner
Everyone in leadership knows the feeling. A situation has occurred, conflict has arisen, and the person you are attempting to reason with just doesn’t see your side of the story. The more you endeavor to clarify the issues, emotions boil more vigorously. In fact, as I write this, I am in one of the situations. I am caught in the turmoil of one of those life conflicts. What can be done to help the other person see my side of the story?
Perhaps that’s the wrong question to ask. Maybe instead of seeing my side and their side, we both need to look at the other side of the story. Instead of being a participant in this conflict, how would I describe it from a third side? What would a neutral observer see in both of our perspectives that would help create understanding between us? Ultimately this is the aim of all good conversations—to learn from one another.
Telling the other side of the story would necessitate describing the situation in such a way that both of us would agree that the conflict is truthfully represented. We would both see the accuracy of the description. Rather than determining who is right or wrong, we could then find common ground in understanding the problem. From that territory, we can together explore a path toward resolution. The essential skill would be to describe the difference in my story and their story. At least we can agree that are we viewing things from very different perspectives—and that vision might help us see our way forward.