Open-mindedness is all about being receptive, whether that’s to new concepts, other people’s opinions and ideas or to new experiences, and it’s a crucial element of one of the most in-demand workplace skills: critical thinking.
By being open-minded you let go of your ingrained beliefs and values, you suspend for a moment the belief that you already have all the answers and you relinquish control and the tendency to judge. And that allows you to see a fresh perspective, provides an opportunity to learn something new and it affords you a certain sense of freedom because you are no longer defending your own ideas, opinions or views.
Increased open-mindedness helps you to take on board a greater breadth of new information to develop more effective approaches and to make more fruitful connections, which makes your thinking more agile and responsive. It is also key to developing mutual understanding with the people you work with, allowing you to build stronger relationships with them.
So how open-minded are you? Do you often ask others for their opinions and ideas? Do you actively listen to their replies? Are you good at taking on board feedback? Are you eager to try new things? Or would you rather stick to your tried and tested way of doing things?
Being open-minded is absolutely something you can teach yourself and you can do it by simply adjusting your mindset and taking positive action. Here are three steps you can take:
1. Challenge your own biases
We all have our own beliefs, preferences, values and life experiences, and all of these influence the way we see the world, whether we like it or not. Accepting that these biases exist and actively challenging them is a crucial part of being open-minded. So, watch how you respond (inside and out) when you are presented with a new concept and encourage your biases and controlling or defensive tendencies to step aside for a moment.
2. Listen & process
Being open-minded is about giving others a platform to share their ideas and truly listening to what they have to say. Ask them questions (that you haven’t already prepared the answers to) and try to see what they see; don’t pre-judge, presume or finish sentences and watch any tendency to get defensive. The latter is particularly important when it comes to feedback. Aside from being beneficial to you, taking on board feedback will help build trust and respect between you and those you work with.
3. Broaden your horizons
It can be all too easy to get comfortable doing things a certain way but breaking from your normal routine and trying something new from time to time is key for mind expansion. New experiences, whether it’s something small like reading a book on a completely new topic or something more significant like travelling to a new country, are valuable opportunities to learn and gain inspiration and fresh perspective and may ultimately lead you to reconsider some of your own beliefs and behaviours.
Being open-minded isn’t something you’ll only benefit from when you’re already at work, however; it can also help you in your job search to find new and exciting opportunities and in every area of your life and relationships. So, start looking for that which lies beyond what you already know, start challenging your own convictions and start listening – you’ll find a whole host of inspiring new experiences and perspectives coming your way.
Source: HN Global