Compromise is defined as, a settlement of differences in which each side makes concessions.
Sometimes when we hear the word compromise, it seems to imply some kind of weakness and someone wasn’t strong enough to win their cause or persuade their point of view.
But being able to settle differences is a skill that is necessary in any partnership or marriage and in the workplace. It’s even necessary when you are stuck in any evening traffic or as you negotiate your way in the subway at morning rush hour.
We have all spent a lot of time learning how to trust our instincts, uphold our values, and defend what we believe is “right”. Being able to stand in yourself and to trust your value meter is a great thing. It feels great when you “stick to your guns”.
But we have all encountered disagreements and frustrations in trying to reach consensus. After you’ve tried to “win” the argument and you notice there are others just as adamant, times a-wasting, and things are getting heated, it is time for a compromise. Leaders ask, what is the task? What is the goal? What are we trying to accomplish? What am I really committed to? The goal or commitment becomes bigger than the needs of the individuals. This is where compromise begins.
Leaders are willing to listen, are open to different ways of thinking or points of view, and willing to “not be right”. Willing to “not be right” is like winning. When it becomes more important to you to prove how “right” you are than to come to a solution. What does that cost you? It cost you the settlement, you’ve possibly decimated the other person and taken them down a few pegs, and you missed an opportunity to show leadership.
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People talk about the middle of the road as though it were unacceptable. Actually, all human problems, excepting morals, come into the gray areas. Things are not all black and white. There have to be compromises. The middle of the road is all of the usable surface. The extremes, right and left, are in the gutters. Dwight D. Eisenhower