When I started forming as a coach, one of the things that caught me the most was the question ‘what is the 2% of truth?’. That question always makes me stop and think: what is true about what you were saying? What if you were slightly right? What could be that?
The effects of this question in someone’s mindset are obvious and have some interesting implications on leadership development.
By giving the other the possibility of being slightly right, I open myself to a better understanding. Even if I – almost – complete disagree, I make myself to look into their arguments to find what could be right. To be able to do that, I need to pay attention, to active listen and to take time to think.
This cognitive process prevents me to fall into anger or frustration just by changing my focus: the aim to understand prevails to the aim to fight.
The understanding does not only operate in the cognitive field but in the emotional field. And this leads me to the next point.
Understanding other people’s feelings is the cornerstone for human connection. This link enables us to predict their behaviours and needs. I, then, could split up the arguments from the person, preventing me to dehumanize her.
If I feel myself connected with you, I could still disagree. And probably, my intention will be coming to an agreement that works for the two of us: what is called a win-win situation.
It is when we dehumanize the contrary when we tend to fight to win, no matter the consequences.
Conflict resolution is something everyone should be trained into. The key point here is that former said change of mindset.
If you think that the end doesn’t justify the means, we could agree on that not all the solutions are worth the same.
When I consider ideas instead of people, I can be detached from who is saying what and evaluate what is worth it. It is by doing this that I can find that 2% of truth and use it as a starting point for a constructive conversation.
This has an interesting side effect: when I become constructive, the others don’t feel attacked; therefore, the chances of having a more constructive conversation rise. As a result, we could come to a better solution together.
This question (what if you were slightly right?) basically promotes a change of mindset that works in the developing of a more conscious, intentional leadership. The impact on the people and the results will be different: better understanding and an improvement in conflict resolution.
What could be different if you stop and ask yourself this question on daily basis?