Gandhi famously and profoundly posited, “be the change you want to see”. This practice of being the change is just as applicable to relationships, leadership and many other facets of life as it is to good will towards mankind.
The best leaders are ones that inspire and lead by example. They are on the front lines, exemplifying the actions they want their followers to practice; they don’t just preach, they walk the talk. They are being the change in their followers that they want to see.
We all have moments where a friend, spouse, employee, boss or otherwise shows us a negative attitude. My gut reaction is to respond with a similarly hostile attitude. That’s natural, but not typically the best way to resolve the issue.
My father always asked, “who’s in control of your attitude”? That infuriated me as a child, but he had a good point. Gandhi was certainly in control of his attitude and he had a lot more to complain about than I.
I know have the ability to take the high road if I really want to resolve the issue, as opposed to just being stubborn. I can change my attitude to reflect the attitude I wish I was experiencing from someone else.
Otherwise I’m just showing the other person that I’m more concerned with being right, being heard, feeling validated, or winning. That’s usually an uphill battle. But if my goal is to move beyond a disagreement and come to a mutual understanding, I can just be the attitude I want to experience.
This is much easier said than done, but it works. Stop arguing; think for a moment how you wish the other person would act, and then act that way yourself.
If you want to really throw someone off, just change your attitude in mid argument. Start being nicer and more agreeable. It’s profoundly disarming, and often the recipient feels obligated to reciprocate with the same positive attitude. Problem solved.
If you can’t do this, you might want to reflect on what you’re really trying to achieve. Just winning an argument for the sake of winning is lame, and doesn’t often solve the real issue at hand.
If you’re real goal is to solve the issue, you’ll have to exhibit some serious will power and force yourself to smile, be agreeable and maybe even compromise a bit.
Lead by example and be the attitude you want to experience.