"You don't lead by pointing and telling people some place to go. You lead by going to that place and making a case." ~Ken Kesey

Whether it is your boss, a coworker, or even an employee, you’re going to run across people in the workplace who just aren’t interested in your opinion. You may have some valuable experience, thoughts and advice to contribute, but they just aren’t interested in hearing it. When that happens, there’s a simple way to open up their thinking:

Start asking them what they think of your ideas

When you start asking for their feedback on your ideas or thoughts you accomplish a few things:

You model what you want to see – Often somebody just needs to take the first step in the right direction. People naturally mirror the behavior of others, so if you want somebody to be open to your opinion, make sure you’re open to theirs.

Extends the olive branch – In many cases the relationship is under a little bit of strain. After all, everybody wants to be heard, and when they’re not, it’s natural to feel a little disrespected. Again, being the first to act often helps the healing.

Opens up conversation – Simply communicating more can have an enormous impact in establishing rapport with somebody else. The more you communicate with someone, the better the understanding between people and the more trust and openness can be nurtured.

Sets the example – Even if you don’t get the results you are looking for, there really is no downside to this approach. Everybody will see what you are doing from the line-level people in the organization to your boss. This can actually be the most powerful result of this tactic as it encourages the behavior to spread, and the more sharing of opinions there are, the better your brainstorming and innovation will be.

So if you want your opinions heard, make sure you’re open to the opinions of others. It can prove to be the breakthrough you need. You often have to give before you receive.

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