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The Globe and Mail

Trouble communicating? Shift perspectives

When you find yourself stewing after a conversation with a colleague that went awry, Toronto-based coach Glain Roberts-McCabe recommends on her Executive Roundtable blog that you try shifting perspectives and reviewing the conversations from these four vantage points:

You're right and they're wrong: This is inevitably the perspective we automatically fall into. But she suggests it's not the most productive way to move forward.

They're right and you're wrong: Try putting on the other person's metaphorical shoes and viewing everything from his perspective. How was he coming at the issue that proved so volatile? What can you see as being true in his point of view? How might you be wrong?

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You're both right and you're both wrong: Try determining what lessons can be extracted from the situation. What are you accountable for as a result of the conversation? What might you do differently in future?

The issue isn't as important as it seems: Maybe after reflecting on these perspectives you'll find the issue has become overblown – something minor in the grand scheme of things. "If so, let it go," Ms. Roberts-McCabe counsels. "If not, what have you learned that can help you and the other person move forward?"

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