Ever have an opinion with absolutely no basis in knowledge? Hate to admit it, but I was completely resistant to the idea behind Cheryl Sandberg’s book Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead even though I had never actually read the book!
I was often asked my opinion of the book by audiences and somehow I formed a very passionate, dissenting opinion against the concept of Leaning In, or at least what I thought the concept was.
So I finally opened my mind and just finished the audiobook. Damn, that was a good book, with good ideas, and not at all what I thought it was going to be.
After I listened, my opinion changed completely. The author brought me on board!
So why was I so resistant? Thinking about that question had me pondering why anyone may have resistance to an idea, a person, or something new. Here are 5 reasons I came up with.
- Jealousy. Sometimes we are envious of a person, or maybe you wanted to be the one to come up with the concept. It is hard when someone or something is getting the type of recognition that you would like to receive and as a result, you resist.
- Defense Mechanism. Perhaps your resistance is to protect something of yours. Maybe you feel like this perspective existing belittles, discounts, or discredits your point of view.
- Ignorance or Skepticism. You’ve heard some things about it, but you don’t yet have the full story, so you’re resisting because of the limited information you do have without taking the time to learn more. Skepticism can be a good thing as long as you are willing to learn more.
- Personal Reasons. Are you resistant to the person? Could it be that you don’t like how they talk or they remind you of someone you don’t like? Could you be resistant to the person and therefore not open to the message? It is hard to separate the person from the problem.
- Trying to be Right. When we’re faced with change, other perspectives, or setbacks, we can get focused on being right, even to our own detriment at times. We’d rather be right before even thinking we’re wrong, or worse, made a mistake.
After a little self-reflection, I reminded myself that to be an inclusive connector and enable authentic connection with others, we can’t fear another perspective. Rather, we should embrace the learning and the differences.
As leaders, we need to be ever open to accepting innovation, integrating positive change, and building environments that forge the courage to be the absolute best. In The Connector’s Advantage, the first mindset is about being open and accepting and the whole last section of the book is about expanding and diversifying our connections – sometimes even I need a reminder!
Strong leaders face resistance with curiosity. They accept the challenge to evolve because they know that change is what makes us grow. Be open to new ideas and different perspectives. Your teams will be stronger and you’ll be the better for it