Posted by: Brandon W. Jones | January 10, 2012

What Were They Thinking?

Several years ago, I learned a very valuable leadership lesson from my mom.  We were having a discussion about different people.  At the time, I was very frustrated because some one I knew had done something that didn’t make sense to me.  I had thought through the whole situation before I came to that conclusion and their actions just didn’t make sense.  My mom heard my frustrations and said, “Brandon, some people just don’t think the same way you think.”  She then went on to explain that each person has a completely different upbringing and background so they think differently.  That, in some ways, was a turning point in my life.  She helped me to understand the importance of trying to see things through other people’s eyes.

In leadership it is very important to see things from the other person’s point of view. Whether you are talking to your employees, people in other departments, or your management team, you must know how to understand the other point of view.  I have some suggestions on how to try and think how others think.

It is very important to learn the backgrounds of others.  By learning the background story, you know where the other person comes from.  The following questions will help you better understand other people:

  1. Where is the person from?
  2. What type of previous work experience does the person have?
  3. What type of people does the person normally work with?
  4. Where does the person want to go in their career?

These questions will help you to better understand what causes the person to act the way they do.

Another way of understanding others is to put yourself in the other person’s shoes.  Running through scenarios of how you would act in their situation will give you a better idea of some of the stresses they may be seeing.  It helps you to have a perspective on what they may be looking at.

Overall, it is very important to understand that not everyone will think like you do.  Not everyone comes from a similar background or is trying to please the same people.  Whenever I have a good understanding of people and their background, I am much more understand them and think the way they do.

Have you ever had the experience of working with or leading someone that didn’t think like you? What tools did you use to understand them better?

Please leave a comment or your thoughts on this matter!!



  1. […] up. Also, prepare for worst case scenarios to prepare for anything that will come up. In addition, put yourself in the shoes of the other person. Think of the concerns they may have and determine how you will respond to […]

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