4. Humanity

26 Sep

I can vouch for this from my own experience from mediations.

When parties in a mediation see the “humanness” in another person, they are often open to appreciating them on a different level … which can open the door to developing compassion and perhaps a change in their own attitude.

Often, accessing the humanity underneath each others’ hard exteriors can be a real challenge.

It takes work. Sometimes it’s just easier to characterize each other with ‘labels’ and sit across the table with arms folded. Or maybe avoid each other altogether.

Miniature worker with a crowbar trying to open a walnutHow to you tap into someone’s humanity?

I have been in plenty of contentious situations as a participant and an observer.

Here are some techniques I have found that work like a nutcracker – to open the hard exterior that protects the fruit inside.

And maybe … just maybe … open someone’s eyes to a different perspective.

Music: I am always amazed at the power of music. Melodies connect us across the world. You don’t even need to know the words — just feel the beat. I remember a couple of times at the legislature when the hour was late and patience was wearing thin … and someone brought out a guitar and before you knew it, people were attracted like moths to a flame. And camaraderie was developing over a tune.

Icebreakers – I have written about them before (Getting to Know You) and some people feel that they are hokey and a waste of time. I am a firm believer that connecting on a personal level can make all the difference in the world and well thought out icebreakers offer that opportunity.

Through the Eyes of Children: Adults get all wrapped up in their worlds – full of walls, judgement, convictions etc. What if we stepped back and listed the impacts of our actions on children? Do you think it would tap into our humanity?

I do.


P.S. This post is the fourth in a series. For more information, please see “Why Do I Write this Blog” about “The Art of Leading Collectively.”






Print Friendly

No comments yet

Leave a Reply