Point of view differs from opinion, in that it is decidedly one-sided and from a single perspective. Point of view, although frequently used as a justification for an opinion, is better used to explain your experience to those who do not have the benefit of your “camera” angle.
Have you experienced a conversation with a member of your team who presents a negative opinion (drawing a less than insightful conclusion) preceded by, “Well, from my point of view…”? Then completing their statement, they speak in generalities which lack knowledge of the 360 degree perspective; such as, “Well, from where I’m standing …it doesn’t seem like the Management Team has any idea how complicated our jobs are.”
This is not only an indication that the employee feels misunderstood and perhaps under-appreciated; but can be toxic if it is shared with others. It is quite possibly the result of a limited point of view and impacting his/her perception of the truth. But perception is worth considering. Such a comment should not be immediately dismissed by labeling the employee as Negative, Disengaged, Not a Team-Player or the like.
Ask yourself why would an employee be inclined to develop such a negative opinion of his/her management team; or any other co-workers or business activities for that matter? It is important that you interpret their comment with knowledge from as many points of view as possible. The greatest of these is the point of view of the source. There are near endless possible causes for the resulting perception and opinion. However, the one which you can directly influence is line of vision. When managing the perceptions of your team, consider these 5 guidelines.
- Regularly share non-confidential information with your team from upper level and executive management and other departments regarding company wins and losses; along with their causes and course corrections.
- Speak to your team from the perspective of other groups. Broaden their point of view. Expand their line of vision.
- Give merit to the perceptions of others departments (including upper management) and inter-dependent teams only when perceptions are accurate. Work collectively to identify means to modify or correct perceptions when they are inaccurate.
- Provide opportunities for employees to talk through challenges they encounter in their jobs in a safe and solution focused manner.
- Remember that wining communicators accept responsibility for 100% of their intended message and 50% of the responsibility for how it is perceived. Perceptions and their resulting opinions are powerful and must be managed as closely as the facts and fictions from which they are born.