While I experienced the impact of differences of opinion while facilitating work teams, it’s been fascinating to notice the ever-growing divergence of viewpoints and ways people share them, in the world today. In my facilitating days, I worked to find approaches to create collaboration between individuals with different perspectives and skills resulting in better outcomes.

An example of this was highlighted in my blog – To Whom Are You Loyal – The Freedom to Disagree. Diverse skills and perspectives lead to creativity and innovation. When we have challenges in working with others, it is a great opportunity to look at what triggers us and learn, (if we are willing to), different ways to respond and connect with others – Taking Steps Forward – Working Together as a Team.

People who come together in groups or team interactions approach things through the lens of their own life story (their experiences and the meanings they create). Their differences also come through in their personal choices. For example,

  • I opt to unsubscribe when someone emails me almost every day. Others feel an email a week is too many.
  • Some people look at a mistake as an opportunity to learn and grow, while others use it to beat themselves up.
  • There are those who have strict beliefs regarding religion or healthcare, and those that choose to investigate alternatives.

None of these are right or wrong; they are personal choices based on perspectives and experiences that mostly affect the individuals. Well- that is until we forget that while our way may be right for us, it is not best for everyone else. Or when we overlook the fact that those choices have consequences – Crossing Boundaries – Who Does Your Choice Impact.

Those consequences appear when we choose to:

  • Gossip or bully in a way that harms another person.
  • Overreact during a disagreement in a way that negatively affects someone else.
  • Present ourselves untruthfully to gain our desired outcome while disrespecting others.

When our personal choices are imposed on others we can also see the consequences in the news. Bullied children take it out on themselves or others. Angry domestic situations escalate to a point of no return. There are numerous situations in which our personal choice can cross someone else’s boundary and lead to a negative outcome.

One of those is when you chose to present yourself untruthfully. While the consequence may not be of a physical nature, the result is a lost opportunity for a qualified candidate. My personal experience is that the truth becomes evident and results in a “do-over” with the associated cost to find someone with the needed qualifications.

Can you see places where your choices have negative consequences for others?  If so, I’d suggest it is time to look in the mirror and ask whether you want to be the kind of person who demonstrates that behavior. Then I’d encourage you to explore options for personal growth work (www.systemsofchange.com) in order to change the path forward.

© 2023, Systems of Change, LLC