Understanding other people’s point of view

People said to have ‘leadership skills’ are usually good at listening, and at considering things from points of view different than their own. They try to put themselves in the other person’s shoes before delivering judgment, and ask for advise when they think it’s relevant.

As St. Thomas Aquinas said centuries ago, Truth is the intellect’s conformity with reality1. The reality of a situation, being objectively the same, is differently perceived by different people when judging it. Reality is complex, you don’t necessarily have all the information necessary to understand all of its aspects, or you may lack the hability to make use of the available information.

Listening to others and considering things from different points of view are proven means to gain better understanding of a situation, and make better decisions.

Seth Godin, in A legend in my own mind{: target=‘_blank’ }:

Everyone lives with self mythology. The more important a memory is to the story we tell ourselves about ourselves, the more often we rehearse the memory. And the more often we relive those memories, the less likely it is that they are true. Despite our shared conception that we are rational actors making intelligent decisions based on an accurate view of the world and ourselves, precisely the opposite is true. Your customers, your workers, you and I, we are all figments2 of our imaginations. Understanding the mythology of your partner, your customer and your audience is far more important than watching the instant replay of what actually happened.

  1. cfr De Veritate q.1, a.1&3{: target=‘_blank’ }. 

  2. figment: a thing that someone believes to be real but that exists only in their imagination. 

decision-making empathy management

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