We need to learn to get along if we’re going to have a sustainable nation and a sustainable family business.
Our differences can be what make us great or it can be what tears us apart. Having had the opportunity to work with both family businesses and public companies, I’ve noticed five things that get in the way of getting along and I have five remedies to help move past the conflict.
Being Close-Minded About the Other Person’s Viewpoint
It seems like it’s human nature to be defensive or closed-minded in the face of opposition. The problem is being close-minded closes us off to learning new and potentially helpful information that can be used to come up with new solutions.
Remedy: Stay aware of when you’re being close-minded and practice keeping an open mind. We have mirror neurons in our brain, so the more we can be open to the other person the more they’ll be open to us.
Being Afraid to Try New Things and Give Up Control
Most people I’ve met don’t embrace change. The other aspect of that is that I believe most people want to have control of their own destiny and of their own actions and results. This need for control really limits your ability to trust and give way to other people’s ideas.
Remedy: Give up the need to have control and realize we have very little control in our lives. Embrace change and the unknown and you will be further along toward getting along and coming up with new ideas and trying new things out.
Just Plain Being Too Headstrong, Too Stubborn and Too Proud
It’s really interesting how people are so stubborn. Of course then pride begins to play into the equation, and out of pride they don’t want to change their viewpoint. Then our egos get in the way and trip us up.
Remedy: Stop worrying about your ego and stop worrying about always being right or looking good. Stop being so damn stubborn. Practice saying, “I’m not sure or I may not be a hundred percent right on this.” You will make major strides in terms of your own humility and ability to get along with others and it won’t kill you I promise!
Letting Your Anger Override Your More Sensible Version of Yourself
The brain scientists have proved to us that when we get emotionally hijacked we lose access to the more rational, creative and compassionate part of our brain. When we become emotionally overrun we cannot think clearly or process new ideas — much less get along with others.
Remedy: When you feel yourself being overwhelmed with emotions take one minute to take a deep breath or get up and take a timeout. You’ll be amazed how quickly you can restore yourself to a calm, rational and creative state. Practice, practice, practice this one. I’ve been practicing it for years and plan on practicing it for the rest of my life!
Being Stuck in Old Ways of Looking at Things
As we get older we get set in our ways of looking at the world. I had to call my daughter the other day to have her explain to me again the concept of streaming TV shows on the internet. I found myself stuck in the old paradigm of cable TV.
Remedy: Just realize the older we get the more likely we are to get stuck in old ways of looking at things. Stay awake, realize the world is changing every day and there may be new ways to do things that we don’t even fully understand.
Learn to stay aware of the patterns that keep you closed-minded and stuck in your worldview. Push yourself to move past the conflict and stay committed to learning, to getting along and creating a sustainable community.
In the meantime I’m going to call my daughter and ask her to come over and show me how this whole streaming thing works!