Is the glass half empty or half full? You may say it depends on the situation or maybe you think it doesn't really matter. But the way you answer this proverbial question reveals a lot about your perspective on life, and ultimately influences your behavior and the decisions you make. Your colleagues will have their own points-of-view, and these outside perspectives will have an impact on you, too.

Different perspectives can either enrich conversations or they can seriously derail decision making. You may often wonder why others do not see things the way you do. You may try to convince them of the merits of your point-of-view and the more you push the more you feel their resistance rise.

It is only natural. Your perspectives are shaped by layers of influences collected over the years. Experiences, cultural values, and significant people in your life combine to create your belief system, which informs your perspectives. It requires peeling away these layers to understand not only what shapes your outlook, but also what shapes the outlooks of people you interact with.

All stages of business development and all aspects of teamwork, at one time or another, require  you to interact collaboratively with others. There are processes you go through to get to the end result and negotiating decisions is one of them. You feel rewarded when you are asked your opinion and others listen. You shut down when your perspectives are not taken seriously or when you're told they are wrong altogether.

While collaboration always has its challenges, there are ways to respectfully share your perspectives and integrate the perspectives of others, and it all starts with self-awareness and other-awareness. Here are three practices you can use to achieve deeper self and other-awareness for better performance and outcomes.

1. Trace the origins of the strong messages you've learned.

There have been significant influences in your life from important family members, mentors, friends, and beyond. They have all contributed to shaping the perspectives and values you hold today. It is a good practice to question why you hold your beliefs and where they come from. This will reveal why you are so passionate about some matters and nonchalant about others.

Notice where the passion is for your colleagues, too, and try to learn from where their views stems. By doing so you will reveal what is critically important to them. This will inform your negotiating strategy and allow you to focus on points of leverage.

2. Map your career choices.

Your life is a series of twists and turns with multiple decision points along the way. It is useful for you to map out (yes, actually draw the sequence) of the moments that led you to where you are today. You can identify other experiences and choices that may or may not have been apparent to you, at the time, and the factors that led you to the decisions you made.

Learn more about the career trajectory your colleagues have taken. These considerations will bring you more information on how they are likely to make decisions and negotiate with you in the future.

3. Define your values. 

There are some things that are negotiable and others that are deal-breakers. In most instances, identifying these boundaries will help you reflect on your core values. Push yourself to question where these values originated, why you hold them so dear, and how you want them to manifest in your life. This process will guide you through your negotiations.

Your negotiating partner will also have values guiding them. You will benefit by knowing what these are, and where to press ahead and where to steer clear.

The effort you put in now to increasing your self- and other-awareness will not only benefit you in your next negotiation, but also pay off in the long run.

Published on: Jun 12, 2018
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