There have been times in my career, where I have spent a lot of time going round and round with someone on a topic where there was no openness to growth. No matter what you say, the argument is already being created on why you are wrong. Oftentimes, it comes not from a place of knowledge, but a lack of it.
What I have learned is that when you realize that you are in that situation, it is time to move on, and focus on those that want to learn.
Now, there is an important difference between the notion of having ideas challenged in the pursuit of learning, as opposed to challenging ideas in order to stand still. One of the things that I believe is crucial to learning is the ability to listen to other ideas and accept challenge. That “pushback” is often an opportunity for both people to grow, as opposed to both standing still. A strong leadership trait is recognizing when the conversation will lead to growth, or to standing still. The time invested in a conversation that goes nowhere, is often better spent in focusing on developing the culture of an organization.
We always need to listen, but sometimes the best answer is to simply say, “thank you for sharing your thoughts”, and move on to the next conversation. We have to understand that learning can be messy, and have it ups and downs, it is still imperative to focus on how we can move forward.
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