Leaders Appreciate Other Points of View

dish or red and green peppers in olive oil

Last week, I mentioned that my alma mater, Clemson University, recently won the NCAA football championship. The championship game marked the end of the season. College football is over for 8 months. Some of you don’t care, but for those that follow the game, it’s a long wait. I’m a fan of many sports, but I’m an avid follower of college football and English Premier League soccer. And when I attend a game in person, I love to tailgate. There’s nothing like grilled hamburgers, hot dogs, baked beans, ribs, potato salad and ice cold drinks before the game. It’s part of the game day tradition.

When I’m not at the game, but watching on TV, I still enjoy some snacks. It could be spicy queso dip or jalapeno poppers or any number of game day appetizers. Occasionally, I’ll even make myself a special sandwich and eat it in front of the TV while watching the game. Know what I mean?

This weekend, I made a special sandwich for one of the games. It was a fancy meatball sub, by my standards anyway. I had some great leftover meatballs and sauce from a catered event. I bought some special hoagie bread at the store along with some peppers, poblano, red, yellow, orange, and jalapenos. I roasted and peeled the peppers, toasted the hoagie roll, added provolone, white garlic cheese, meatballs sauce, peppers, and shredded some fresh parmesan on top. Delicious! I even had some peppers left over so I added olive oil and placed in the refrigerator to use later. The sandwich was really, really good AND my team won the game. What a fun way to spend a weekend afternoon!

While I watched the game and ate my meatball sub, I was reminded of a conversation I’d once had with the fan of a rival team. He was yelling expletives at fans from my team and, in general, being rude and ugly. I asked him what prompted him to behave in that manner. He didn’t have a great answer except that he hated all fans that didn’t pull for his team. I told him that was interesting. After all, if everyone was a fan of the same team and there weren’t other teams, other rivals, there’d be no games. Can you imagine if everyone was a fan of Manchester United like I am? It would be boring. It’s fun to have rivals. To play Chelsea and Manchester City and Arsenal. If all fans pulled for Manchester United and there was only one team there were be no official matches, only inter-squad scrimmages. How boring!

It’s okay to pull for your team, to show emotion when they score or win. But it’s not okay to belittle others for supporting a rival team. It’s not okay for me to assume that all rational people would pull for Clemson and Manchester United just because I do. Have you ever heard that “variety is the spice of life”?

Personal values should be constant. You should not compromise your belief, your faith, or your ethics. But you should be open to the perspective of others and appreciate other points of view. You’ll become a better leader for it. A better husband. A better wife. A better employee. A better son. A better daughter. A better grandparent. A better coach. A better fan. As you appreciate the points of view others hold, you’ll become a better person.

I’m glad there are vegetarians and Democrats and Yankee fans. I’m glad some people like mushrooms, drink tomato juice, enjoy cleaning their house and fixing their car. I’m not THAT person, but I appreciate them nonetheless. I can learn from them. And I can allow their points of view to challenge me in positive ways. Years ago, I didn’t like peppers or jazz or classical literature.

A final reminder. Just because you appreciate another’s point of view doesn’t mean you agree with it or that you’ll convert. I’ll never be an Ohio State fan, live in Alaska, dye my beard, or be an early riser. But that doesn’t stop me from listening to and being friends with people who believe in and do these things.

Have a great week and remember to appreciate other points of view!

is an agent of change and is able to balance the needs of the business and the needs of people. Dr. Gerwig believes and practices the values of performance and delivery of business metrics while simultaneously developing and growing people into leaders. You can contact him at RobertGerwig[at]LeadStrategic.com.

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