I think it was the ruling British prime-minister Margaret Thatcher who accused then President George Bush of waffling on a particular issue. It’s just naturally more respectable to be solid in a position than it is to waiver and be unsure of which side to take. Leaders promote security and trust by demonstrating sureness and consistency.
But getting along with other people sometimes requires a bit of give and take. There are times, I believe, when it’s important to suspend your position and listen to the other side – listen to what it is that supports an alternative opinion. It’s not a sign of weakness to entertain other viewpoints but rather a show of strength that you would even be open to change.
Certainly there are times when one must take a stand and hold a position. But a position of strength most often results from having entertained alternatives and finding that an original position is well founded even in the face of its combatants. Listening leads one naturally to great questions and important conversations. Now, I’m not saying that you should waffle. Take a position, but also know how you arrived there.
Day 15 Guide
Try to understand the nature of someone else’s opinion by asking questions; you might find yourself in the middle of an important conversation.
© 2005, Levi Hill