9 smart ways to keep an open mind in the workplace
By TRISOFT team
Being open-minded doesn’t just mean accepting new ideas and tolerating other people, or expressing a certain degree of flexibility. It’s much more than that, and it is expressed through attitudes and actions — it means being receptive to everything and everyone that comes your way, allowing yourself to embrace various possibilities and opportunities, perspectives, suggestions and concerns. It means letting go of prejudice, stubbornness and rigidity.
It’s difficult to practice, but once you get the hang of it, it will make life easier and more enjoyable. Open-minded entrepreneurs are able to make better strategies, implement novel solutions, listen to diverse opinions and regard the problem from multiple viewpoints, thus coming up with more efficient plans. It doesn’t mean they actually believe, accept or implement everything they hear, but it does aid in making better arrangements.
But how can you put all this into practice and actually keep an open mind on the job?
1. Fight the impulse to react with anger when someone has a different opinion
Take a moment, calm down and assess the situation, while taking into consideration the other one’s point of view as well — try to walk a mile in their shoes. It will make life more uncomplicated and rid you of frustration, as well as offer you a completely new insight into a matter.
2. Avoid isolation and confinement
When you are faced with something unfamiliar, don’t just storm off to another office or end the meeting with a raging exit, refusing to discuss the problem with anyone. Look at everything as a learning experience and learn to communicate — it’s the only way to solve differences of opinions. Be calm and avoid arguing. Sometimes, silence is golden. Save a healthy discussion for later, when you are both tranquil and non-hostile.
3. Leave your comfort zone
Although it may give you anxiety or annoyance, make the effort to take things a step further and see where they lead. Go to new places, try new things, meet new people and seek new activities. They will broaden your horizon.
4. Ask lots of questions
Don’t just assume you know what the other person meant, why the situation happened or what must be done in a certain case. You might gain superior understanding and make better decisions if you avoid speculation, but inquire others and accept different perspectives — just make sure you don’t intrude by asking too much and being too eager.
5. Practice your listening skills
Make sure to let your colleagues or employees know that you are there to hear them out and actually care about what they have to say. Don’t rebuke suggestions from the start, instead offer other options and explain why, despite their opinions, things will take another course. But if they offer valid insight, take it and apply it to the situation at hand. Everyone must feel comfortable at work and empowered to speak their own minds.
6. Engage in active comprehension
Keeping in mind another person’s circumstances, try to understand, sympathize with and make sense of their story, opinion or reaction. You don’t need to adopt their perspective or find a solution that makes the best of both worlds, but attempt to find peace with yourself and the other person.
7. Forget about black-or-white thinking
Although you may sometimes be convinced that you hold the absolute truth, and another person is completely in the wrong, try to accept that things might actually be the other way around. Maybe you don’t have all your facts straight, there are things you didn’t even take into consideration or certain details have changed in the meantime — life is all about shades of grey.
8. Take lessons from anyone and never stop learning
Collect all the available information and get in contact with as many people as possible, in view of obtaining it. Develop a thirst for learning, peak your curiosity and don’t be afraid to say “I don’t know”. An open-minded person understands that there is no end to the journey of knowledge and exploration.
9. Challenge limits
Our experience in this world is created through the filter of our own beliefs, ideas and patterns — what we get from our parents, school, the environment, what we read, etc. But we must be aware that our viewpoint is limited and subjective, and we stand to gain much more from acknowledging and accepting another’s person (also limited) perspective. The modern workplace is filled with people from different backgrounds, cultures and life experiences. By combining two or several narrow worlds, we can create an immense and diverse universe.
So exchange ideas regularly with your colleagues or employees; accept respectful criticism without bitterness; appreciate and celebrate other people’s achievements; be flexible toward altering tasks, assignments or schedules; request feedback from within the company, as well as from clients, collaborators and service providers; encourage open-mindedness in others. Be patient, don’t expect too much, be lighthearted, relaxed and easygoing — it will have wonderful effects on your work, your relationships, your life and your business. A closed mind tends to make errors in judgment, but a positive attitude toward new experiences can lead to new discoveries each day, making your activities fun and exciting.
Although it may seem like you’re losing control, we at TRISOFT encourage you to take a leap of faith and risk feeling vulnerable, by attempting to keep an open mind about most aspects in your life. Thus, your old beliefs and ideologies will no longer confine you and you will be able to live life to the fullest.