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He DESTROYED that commentary!

JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. --

If you are like me, your social media stream is littered with articles that use words like “destroyed,” “obliterated,” etc., always in capital letters, to entice you to click on that link.  This technique is used across the political spectrum, usually by authors who have little to no new or compelling information to offer in their article.  I would be willing to bet on one of two things:  1) You ‘might’ click it if you agree with the opinion of the author and 2) There’s no way you’re clicking it if you are on the opposite side of that particular issue.

Why is this the case?  It really comes back to a core principle of critical thinking, and one of the tenants as described by Dr. Richard Paul and Linda Elder’s. It’s called being ‘reasonable’.  As a leader, you certainly have had or will have ample opportunities to persuade someone or some group, perhaps to gain resources, shore up support for an initiative or change a process. 

Are you looking at the issue from a standpoint of good reason?  When looking at the issue from the viewpoint of others (who you are attempting to persuade), how can you approach the issue from a presentation standpoint? 

Think about your own experiences.  When was the last time you actually changed your outlook on an issue. Was it because of an emotional plea, or was it because you were treated like a rational adult and presented factual information that built a solid case?  I would imagine that it didn’t start off with someone calling you a name, insulting your intelligence, or using language that was full of negative emotions. 

My simple advice is to start with yourself and ask ‘are you open minded?’  Are you open to hearing out new ideas, even though you have extensive experience in a certain area?  Once you understand how to be reasonable, and have an open mind, you can begin to persuade others to do the same.  After this, it is possible to formulate a conversation that is fact-based, low on the emotion scale, and respectful of other’s viewpoint.  I’m not saying you’ll be changing hearts and minds across the installation, but you might be surprised how effective it can make you as a leader, and how it makes your team members feel valued. 

Boom.  Commentary “DESTROYED”.