When we’re exposed to certain situations, we’re bound to have differences of opinion. On a team, opinions come from different perspectives and great teams ensure that each are valued. However, leaning too far in one direction by disregarding any evidence that speaks to the contrary, is damaging.
Opinions Through Facts
Let’s be clear, facts and opinions are dichotomous. Facts is the perceived reality while opinions are interpretations of that reality. Interpretations require information that can be obtained through the absurd amount of sources in today’s world.
At times we might believe that the source of those facts lacks credibility. In a workplace, it might be rumors or misinterpreted top-down information. Outside of work, media outlets likely come to mind. We might view the source as biased, filtered, and censored and cherry picking information within that source is worse altogether. We can’t discredit information against us and credit information in support of us simultaneously. We are in effect then, filtering sources through our own biases and by doing so we discredit ourselves for the very same reason we decided the source was unreliable!
Leading into Common Ground
As a leader that should hear out varying opinions, we must be aware of this pitfall. To pull ourselves and teams out, repetitiveness and probability are needed to dilute biases. Multiple matching sources yields higher credibility. Misinterpreted information becomes clear when reviewed over and over. Secondly, we can revert to statistics by asking a simple question: “What are the chances?” Rumors are squashed when one considers its likelihood is close to 10%.
When different opinions based on individual’s perceived realities become a debate topic, even healthy debates, it’s best to validate sources and work to remove biases through repetitiveness and probability.