Performance review season is upon us — the time annually when colleagues give and receive feedback and invent new meh SMART goals ad nauseam.
Inevitably, somebody I mentor will message me during this time, offended or irked by a supervisor who has vaguely asked them to be more open-minded.
Yes, the world prods us all to be more open-minded. But what does that mean?
Open-mindedness refers to a willingness to consider innovative ideas, varied perspectives, and newfound data without automatically rejecting them.
The key word is willing.
Open-minded people remain willing.
Willing to analyze viewpoints that contradict their own.
Willing to search for evidence against their beliefs, ideas, or goals.
And willing to weigh that evidence fairly and revise their opinions if needed.
Close-minded people often misunderstand their open-minded peers.
Open-minded individuals are not indecisive or incapable of making decisions. Nor are they wishy-washy or flip-floppers. After considering all sides of an issue, an open-minded person takes a stand on a position and acts accordingly. But that stance can evolve and shift as new info becomes available.
The readiness to listen and consider opposing views is not a failing or fault. It is a strength.
Cliché as it sounds, there are two sides to every story, so an open-minded person is keener and more rounded for valuing opinions that counter theirs. Open-minded individuals approach discussions and situations with a receptive and non-judgmental attitude. Here are some characteristics often associated with open-minded people:
1. Readiness to Listen.
Open-minded individuals = attentive listeners. They remain ready to hear and understand different viewpoints without immediately dismissing them.