Years ago there was a Coca-Cola commercial with music that said, “I’d like to teach the world to sing, in perfect harmony, I’d like to hold it in my arms and keep it company…..” That jingle played for a number of years and was seen as supporting peace and hope as a goal we could achieve.
Today, we have many tensions, disagreements, and conflicts that are present in our organization and country. The idea of peace and hope seems far off, and that old jingle can seem rather naïve. But what if it is in fact, helping us identify what truly matters and how as leaders we can make a tremendous difference?
Many will say that we cannot change the status quo, that one person cannot create peace or change the tensions that exist. However, leaders can impact their teams’ relationships and how we embrace each other.
To make that impact, leaders must be intentional about modeling the attitudes and behaviors that change our relationships.
Those attitudes and behaviors include things like being present and listening to others. Listening sounds so passive but real listening requires us to focus on the other person and to seek to hear and understand their perspective. It is a powerful action that demonstrates respect and requires an openness to their ideas.
Another way in which leaders can create peace is by role modeling how to collaborate well. When we collaborate we seek to draw out the best ideas from each member, embracing new perspectives we have not considered before. Doing so again allows each team member to feel valued, heard, and understood. It also demonstrates humility in that our ideas do not always have to be right or the best. Others can then feel free to consider other perspectives without fearing that they will look weak.
When people feel heard, understood, and respected; it allows us to come together in meaningful ways that generate goodwill. It creates trust and the belief that someone cares about our needs and is seeking our best. When you create this culture, there is less conflict, and more peace and hope. While this does not happen overnight, it is critical that you begin the process of creating harmony one step and one person at a time.