Listening to Understand

I recently chatted with a startup team. I wanted to know how they resolve disagreements. They all said they first listen to each other’s points to understand the different perspectives. Then they discuss what’s in the best interests of the customer. They’ve disagreed over the years on some pivotal issues that changed the company’s trajectory, but it never hurt the team. If anything, it helped build trust because each person felt heard and understood even if the ultimate decision wasn’t what they wanted.

Listening with the intent of understanding different perspectives is effective. I’ve consistently seen that teams who handle disagreements this way resolve them more effectively and make better decisions.

The next time you don’t see eye to eye with someone, consider taking the time to listen to them. Don’t interrupt. Keep listening until you understand their perspective. This simple but powerful approach can lead to a compromise that everyone can live with.