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In the late 60’s Queen Elizabeth was walking through a crowd of admirers in Australia when an angry group of students approached her and shoved a fake severed arm into her hands.
I suppose they thought she would recoil in horror, or be aghast or shocked or offended. But she simply gave a gracious smile and said,
“Thank you very much, it’s what I’ve always wanted!”
And then she beamed at the students, handed the arm to an aid and moved on.
I love that story, because it illustrates how to defuse situations that could otherwise turn ugly.
So here’s how to end polarization on your team:
Decide to not to be offended
It’s your choice. You have a moment of response-ability where you can decide to get your back up, or to go with it and realize that other people have different opinions and you don’t have to be their thought police.
Be one of those amazing people who don’t take offense easily. We love these people!
Choose to not take it personally
Why choose to be prickly? Why not laugh instead? Laughing and learning, and laughing and acceptance are a whisker apart from each other. When you laugh, everything’s okay again. So make laughing your default rather than outrage!
Some people are like garbage trucks
They’re full of junk and sometimes they dump their garbage out because that’s the only cargo they carry. And you might be standing where they’re dumping that day. But it’s not about you. Keep telling yourself, “This is not about me. This is not about me…”
The mark of the rational mind
Is to be able to hear two conflicting ideas in the same conversation and not go into meltdown.
Every 6th episode of Star Trek (original series) was based on this premise. If you can just introduce a different idea to the tyrannical robot currently in charge, soon its speech will start to garble and smoke will come out of its ears and it will cease to function.
So what if someone disagrees with you about politics or religion or current events? Shrug it off. You’re not responsible for them.
Something I think about a lot
Is from the book of Proverbs, written 3000 (ish) years ago. Here it is:
“It is to your glory to overlook an offense.” (Proverbs 19:11)
- Why not just forget about it?
- Don’t sweat the small/stupid stuff
- Realize you might be wrong
- Remember that good people (like you) sometimes express bad emotions
- Talk yourself out of being offended
- Recognize that everyone is an imperfect work in progress
- Focus on something else – don’t pick the scab
- Be quick to laugh it off
Getting ahead is about getting started. Try something different this week!
Trevor Throness is a speaker, consultant, and author of “The Power of People Skills.” He is also co-founder and senior instructor at professionalleadershipinstitute.com https://professionalleadershipinstitute.com/
Find more about “The Power of People Skills” here: https://www.amazon.com/Power-People-Skills-Dramatically-Performance/dp/1632651068