Company leaders listen up! Do you expect growth to happen to your business? The stagnant status quo will not work consistently. For continued growth, change is mandatory. Change also requires risk.
While companies can calculate most risks through charts and graphs, one risk no company considers is adding outside viewpoints. Management is too busy reviewing statistics and probability that listening isn't a part of their game plan.
Mistakes and bias occur when leaders limit themselves to the boardroom. An open mind is about listening to co-workers and customers' positive and negative reviews. Open-minded professionals view the company differently when a fresh opinion enters your calculations.
An open mind
Let's get real about embracing an open-minded personality. An open mind is a willingness to listen, learn and consider a person's opinion.
Ken Barnes, a coordinator for the University of California Davis' Internship and Career Center Program, believes that an open-minded personality is a major trait employers value.
The workforce loves open-minded employees because they are easy to train, teach and coach. Employers are confident you'll adapt to their methods of productivity and discover new problem-solving methods.
Open-minded people adjust to individual and team assignments. Know-it-alls, however, are difficult for employers to handle and are not welcome in the workforce.
All open-minded professionals hover around similar qualities. The primary ones are adaptability, flexibility, curiosity, acceptance and awareness.
Adaptability equips professionals to handle various job environments and the co-workers in it. Flexibility requires multi-tasking on projects and tasks.
Curiosity is constantly being willing to discover and learn new things through viewpoints, research and asking questions. Acceptance is learning to accept a person's opinions that are similar or different from yours.
Awareness for professionals is knowing different perspectives exist and not limiting your mind to only your views.
How to develop an open mind
An open mind is a natural trait for some employers. If no traits apply, learning to become open-minded is the alternative approach. Practice daily and being open-minded will become automatic. Patience and humility, in no particular order, are the main ingredients.
Focus on listening to an employee's complete opinion. First, ask for clarity if you don't understand something. State your opinion after fully understanding their side.
You'll be surprised how much information comes from misreading a person's perspective. Second, bounce ideas off employees often. Soak in every opinion, positive and negative, and tell them how much their opinion matters to the company.
Third, schedule a meeting to encourage employees to speak their minds. Let them vote on upcoming opportunities and current issues.
Next, celebrate employee achievements with the entire staff. Acknowledge that more employee celebrations will occur frequently.
Then, based on an employee's skill and talent, assign schedules and work assignments to challenge and motivate employees to grow the business.
Lastly, provide a platform for customer feedback (online survey, comment card, etc.) and incorporate their feedback to correct and/or create projects and tasks within the business.
Don't limit yourself to these suggestions. Consider this a stepping-stone toward additional ideas to show an open-minded attitude toward employees and customers with varied personalities and cultures.
An open mind brings a diverse angle that didn't exist prior. You value the person's opinion so much that you reflect on your own beliefs. In the workplace, a trustworthy opinion makes you re-evaluate every aspect of the business.
From projects to business plans, you second-guess initial plans and consider the other person's thoughts. The new result may change the entire plan or pieces of it based on the person's words.
Likewise, nothing may change. Regardless, you believe their viewpoint is valuable, and you appreciate everyone's opinions as those opinions force you to second-guess initial plans.
There's a thin line between being open-minded and being a doormat. You will encounter co-workers who expect a listening ear from you, but are “too busy” to listen to your opinions.
These selfish, my-way-or-the-highway personalities are in every workplace. Mostly avoid these co-workers so that your work environment remains pleasant. For those unavoidable times, try to tolerate their views to keep the peace, but never take it too seriously.
The second instance is dealing with bullying or gossip. Never allow a person to make you feel bad about your viewpoint. A person who forces you to change your stance should never occur in the workplace.
Report bullying and gossip to management, as both can spiral out of control and cause emotional, mental and physical harm. Associate with co-workers who values and appreciate your opinions. Your voice does matter.
Book-smart knowledge is great for success, but it turns you into a closed-minded leader who listens to data and research over a second opinion. Book learners justify their stubbornness with life experiences that support their claim.
For optimal growth, open your mind to varied opinions. Listen to customers and employees, and allow their knowledge to influence you and your business. Open-minded professionals can take a company to unimaginable heights.
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