“Here’s what I’m thinking,” is a phrase I use often in conversations at home, with friends, and at work. I’ve found that it opens the door to a discussion –
especially when others seem to be reluctant to share an opinion, or to engage in the conversation, or they are not receptive to whatever action I just suggested.
It’s an effective technique at work, and you may already use it there.
Have you considered that it’s also an effective technique to use as a parent? By sharing your thinking, you’re able to justify your decision with logic, not with the ‘because I said so’ authority that creates barriers and causes doors to close (and sometimes, to slam shut!).
It works just as well with other adults outside of work too. Rarely will the other person, or others in the group, remain silent after you’ve shared your thinking. But if they do, you can ask the question, “what do you think?” Sometimes, it has generated a discussion that reveals the fatal flaws in my thinking! That’s fine with me because I’m open to improving any idea.
The Bonus Benefit of Sharing Your Thinking
Sharing your thinking invites discussion and collaboration. It keeps the door of communication open, even when your decision is unpopular, and especially when things don’t turn out the way you thought they would. Having shared your thinking and invited discussion gives all of you a chance to find the flaws, to suggest other ideas, and thereby, to take some ownership in the success of your idea.
By sharing your thinking in conversation, you give your children, or adults, the opportunity to accept and commit to your idea before you have to finalize your decision and move ahead with it. That can be valuable to you should others fail to keep their end of the agreement.
Here’s a bonus benefit: by sharing your thinking and inviting discussion, you also give others – whether adults or children – the opportunity to grant you forgiveness when your fabulous idea bombs spectacularly.
Openness Is Required
Of course, sharing your thinking and inviting discussion only works if you are in fact open to discussion, even outright criticism, of your ideas. If you’re not, don’t try this at home or at work. Do try to work on your ability to remain open to ideas.
Live Honest, Open and True
Expressing your thinking behind your decisions, inviting discussion, and being open to other points of view all foster acceptance, agreement, and commitment. It does not diminish your role or rights in the relationship with your children, or as an equal adult with a spouse or partner. To the contrary, it strengthens your role.
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