Rohan, over at a learning a day, shared how in his family they take the approach of being constructive. Describing it as “building the most positive reality they can” he is pointing out that to be constructive also means to focus on the facts at hand.
In that article he also shares a hint on the difference between virtues, that is what we do, and values, that is, what we believe.
Reality is an elusive concept as it is being established through everything we perceive and builds on our experience. To hold some idea of reality we tend to have “ideas in the mind”. We thus will talk about our “organization in the mind” as the description we have of an organization. It is the image we then use to interact with the organization. We do the same with people as well as groups. To a certain extent, they are stereotypes we’ve adapted to that specific entity.
Many of the difficult conversations come from the fact that we use our idea of something instead of allowing ourselves to learn to know the other person’s “idea in the mind”. Learning to know that idea is what enables a conversation based on facts. It’s the place allowing you to start conversations about things that may need to change, thus enabling your work of coaching or consulting.
While there might be a reality “out there”, there is no guarantee, that it is the one we have. The richness of diversity is, among other things, the opportunity to learn to see the world through other people’s eyes. They always will have seen something we haven’t seen.
It makes deciding what is right and what is wrong more complicated. However, right and wrong are value-based assessments, not necessarily what is most useful in that moment, nor something that needs to be exclusive.
Being constructive is there to make the difference more comfortable. It eases the situation when getting to a common idea of right and wrong is not possible, creating comfort and trust in the relationship instead.