I grew up in a family of three girls. Although I was fanatical about sports, I was not a sports fan. I was a doer, not a viewer. But now, living in New England with my husband and two boys, being a sports fan is not optional. So, as the Patriots fan I’ve become, I watched MVP Julian Edelman’s reply to the question, “What do you say to the haters?” His answer was simple, “Don’t hate, collaborate.”
That may not mean much to a Rams fan, or lovers of any other NFL team tired of Brady and Belichick’s reign, but is apropos to everyone suffering the divisiveness of the current political landscape. It also lends fresh perspective to those promoting diversity.
The emotional reaction of hatred often stems from betrayal, feeling threatened, ideological differences, envy, or jealousy. Moving beyond hate requires a transformation of thinking. To erase pre-conceptions and build a fresh mindset, we need new information and new experiences, and new reactions. The only way to do this is to stop talking and start listening.
As a former trainer in negotiation and conflict resolution, I learned that to get beyond positional, black and white resolutions, we need to dig down to discover underlying interests, concerns and motivations. We need to ask each other “why?” and understand one another at a deeper level.
Choose among several techniques to draw out perspectives and opinions:
With renewed respect and understanding, you can have different conversations–conversations that enhance trust, solve problems, and deepen relationships. Moreover, you can work together collaboratively.
A mediator, consultant, or third party facilitator can be helpful for unbiased leadership. However, with the right tools and frameworks, working together can be easy and perhaps even pleasant. Consultant-type tools can help you make meetings productive, effective, and stress-free:
When we stop hating and start collaborating, so many other great things can happen–we can communicate, fascinate, accommodate, commiserate, innovate, and so much more!
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