Effective Leaders See All Sides

Patrick, Sales Manager for a provider of heating, ventilation and air conditioning service told Session 6B of Turbo’s Leadership Development Lab:


“When I chose my Pearl, I knew I was going to be talking to Ed, an owner in my HOA who strongly disagreed with my position on certain issues (I’ve changed the names of people and streets).

“Ed lives on Dune Road that runs along the top of a hill parallel to the ocean. There is a big challenge between people who live on Dune Road who want to protect their ocean views and people who live in the valley between Dune Road and the ocean, who don’t want to pay thousands of dollars to cut the tops off their trees. There is constant anger and fighting among the residents caused by this issue.

I decided to put a committee together made up of people from all groups in the HOA to discuss the issues. I was looking for someone from Dune Road. I called Ed, as soon as I mentioned the trees, he said ‘I am an attorney, I paid extra for this property because of the view. If you try to take away my view, I will sue you.’

“I locked my mouth closed for a few seconds (Leadership Principle #13 ‘Avoid Arguments’), thought about what he said and tried not to become defensive. Then I validated what he said (Leadership Principle #5 ‘See Their Point of View’). ‘I understand,’ I said, ‘If I bought property on Dune Road, I wouldn’t want to lose the view either. You’re an attorney and you live on Dune Road? This is perfect!’ That obviously surprised him. ‘I need you on my committee. We need someone with your knowledge of the law and I need you to represent the interests of the people on Dune Road, as well as the rest of the people in the community. I need you to help me come up with a solution that is fair to everyone (Leadership Principle #15 ‘Appeal to Their Noble Motives’).’


“We are far from resolving all the issues, but Ed and I are building a friendship. He saw that I was not just thinking about myself, he knows I am trying to work out a solution that will work for everyone.

“The lesson I learned is the importance of leading from high ideals. I was not just thinking about myself, but truly wanted a fair and reasonable solution for our community. I learned to express genuine interest in the other person’s point of view and appeal to their noble motives.

“The action I call you to take the next time you run into a situation where you know you will be facing controversy is to develop a plan that employs the 15 Leadership Principles.

“The benefit you will gain is easier resolution of complicated, contentious issues.”

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