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If recent tragedies have highlighted anything, is that we do not know how to debate or conduct meaningful dialog.

A difference of opinion should be welcomed and heard out. Differing points of view provide us a force multiplier. Rather than 10+10, we should be dealing with 10×10.

Complex issues demand the ability to view a problem from multiple perspectives, identify contributing factors, offer solutions to each factor, and continual reassessment.

Instead, we pick one or two possible solutions and wave them as a “One Size Fits All” answer to a problem requiring 10, 20, or even 100 smaller answers.

On top of that, we are quick to argue, tear down, or belittle genuine efforts to introduce an alternative answer. We point out the flaws of an idea without measuring the merits. This “All or Nothing” mentality is ruining our culture.

Let’s be clear: these issues are not black and white.

The issue is the issue.

Leaders,

(That includes teachers, parents, managers, directors, students, police officers, baristas, media personalities, gun-haters, gun-lovers, lawyers, politicians, janitors, celebrities, hairdressers, photographers, and everyone else)

We must – must – realize that issues can be divisive, but that divisive issues are ours to solve.

We must realize that candid communication and a genuine commitment to solving the problem takes priority over small mindedness, All or Nothing approaches, and continued ignorance.

The issue is the issue.

The people debating the issue are not the issue. Broad, categorical statements are not helpful. Name calling is not helpful. Blame shifting is not helpful.

Rather than debating on the merit of an idea, we’re stuck in a perpetual mentality of not letting the other person win.

There is a vast difference between,  “I win” and “You lose.” Imagine the difference in strategy between shooting the ball to score versus shooting to not miss.

As leaders, we must elevate above the noise and end this self-destructive culture of: “I’m going to make sure you lose.”

In that race, there are only losers.

Photo by Vincent van Zalinge on Unsplash

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