Assessing issues from different job perspectives

Posted 5/2/2016

Assessing issues from different job perspectives

In workplaces, people have to collaborate, work with, or work around others. Others may affect your work and your work may affect other workers or customers. Conflicts may arise.

It can be useful to view issues form the other personís perspective to understand their concerns and attitudes. Pretend to be that person with their education, experiences, skills, beliefs, values, and personal attributes. The saying, You have to walk a mile in the other personís shoes to understand their situation has a lot of merit. It may not, however, be sufficient to understand that personís concerns and issues and can cause misunderstandings. Their mandate for working may be different from yours. Their experiences, skills, and abilities may be different from yours. They may be more or less capable than you are in dealing with the situation. Supervisors may have more or less supervisory training than you do. New employees may have more or less work experience than you do and their education may be quite different. Their way of mentally processing information and their preferred style of learning may be different from yours. Their communication methods may not suit you and vice versa. 

For you to effectively put yourself in other peopleís shoes to understand what is important to them, their issues, concerns, and capabilities, you have to imagine yourself having the education, experiences, skills, and personal attributes of those specific people. Ask yourself, If I were that person, how would I view the issue?

Viewing issues from the other personís perspective is very helpful when resolving conflicts and negotiating win-win agreements.

The book MetaThink provides a detailed explanation about assessing issues from different job perspectives. MetaThink also addresses other topics such as:

  •  using reasons, causes, effects, and consequences to understand the workplace for what it is, identify what can go wrong and why, and determine the consequences (i.e., LO-PEMEO)
  •  using a structured method for asking What if . . . ? questions to identify what could go wrong and the consequences
  •  using the input-process-output model for work and technical processes and to communicate effectively

Do you think most people view issues from other peopleís perspectives? What is the downside if workers do not understand what motivates and drives other people to behave as they do?

Gordon Shand is President of HDC Human Development Consultants Ltd. He has 35 years of experience designing and developing educational and training programs that have excellent practical value and contribute to the customerís business success.