Many conflicts reflect misaligned or unaligned agendas often rooted in differing perspectives on a common issue or challenge. If you are mired in such a misunderstanding it can help to remember that the other people also think they're right. We all look at the same things with different eyes and different points of view that you as a strong leader can synthesize into a bigger solution that works better for everyone. Things are often not what they seem.
I recently had the opportunity to dine in a swanky Japanese restaurant that offered avant garde cuisine prepared by a famous dude named Toro. It was also the kind of place for a not-quite-so-foodie to be wary of the inevitable "delicacy"–the standard euphemism for shit that's super gross or scary for a prairie boy to eat (no matter how cultured he thinks he might be). We ate a lot of things that tasted good but we were also careful not to ask a lot of questions. TMI.
What we think something is influences how we perceive it through our senses.
I was well into some sort of squishy ball things in a gelatinous goop when the diners next to us asked what it was. Toro said something along the lines of "the part that only male fish have" in broken English. Pass the Sake. Next was puffer fish sashimi. I remembered reading something about people dying from puffer fish, and sure enough, a quick google search revealed that puffer can only be prepared by someone with Yoda-level sushi credentials. Toro had a bunch of stars to his name so I assumed we were cool, but I didn't recall him sampling the fish before serving it, as he is required to do. The fish has one of the most powerful neurotoxins in it, and if not prepared properly, even a small amount could kill us within 24 hours: symptoms would be begin as soon as twenty minutes. I started to feel flush and my heart began to race within minutes of finding out what I had been eating as my hypochondria-riddled brain began manufacturing symptoms.
The meaning we ascribe to things determines how we experience them.
The environment we consume things in drives a lot of what we take out of it. For example: for much of my early days as a climber I happily ate instant ramen and drank Tang. In this mountain setting, we referred to Tang, as "the nectar of the gods". That, ramen and panfried mini pizzas were all we were really in the mood for when we started climbing in the wee hours of the morning and returned after a long slog. Much better (and cheaper) than male fish parts. But drink that hideous, oversweetened swill in the city? Never.
I was forced to study aesthetic phenomenology in design school. It's a fancy way of saying that the beauty is in the eye of the beholder. That beauty, despite what the aficionados of various artistic domains might argue, is still largely subjective and suffers the vagaries of individual taste.
Unconscious prejudices and paradigms often determine what is meaningful.
Our brains are made up of myriad concepts that are like private lenses through which we view and filter the objective world. These lenses define what is true, from our perspective and we see through them without realizing that we are viewing a distorted reality unique to us. Like fish we are not aware of the water we swim in.
Everyone we bump into on a daily basis has this unique conceptual framework through which he or she experiences our shared reality. The diversity of perspectives available in a team process creates much richer results when we remember that everyone on the team has a unique contribution to the mission of the team. Next time you are having a conflict or disagreement with someone ask your self how this person might be perceiving the situation much differently that you are. Everyone is at least a little bit right and all those little bits of rightness can add up to something really right for everyone.