How to walk in someone else’s shoes
Jack Handey once said, “Before you criticise someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes.”
Sound advice, but how can you actually do that? How can you see things from someone else’s point of view so that you can better understand that person’s thoughts and actions?
Using a technique called Perceptual Positions, you can learn to experience a situation through someone else’s eyes, in your own office – and in your own shoes.
The technique allows you to see things from someone else’s perspective, by replaying a scene from various viewpoints (positions): yours, the other person’s, and an objective outsider’s.
Follow these four simple steps to take yourself through the technique.
Step 1: Think of a specific situation when you couldn’t relate to where another person was coming from.
Step 2: Set up three chairs in your office so that you can rotate around the three positions by moving to a different place every time you ‘change positions’.
Step 3: Explore each position from a different chair:
- Think about the situation exactly as it happened, seeing it through your own eyes. Remember exactly what each person said, and how you felt.
- Imagine the situation from the other person’s perspective. How did you look, sound and feel to them?
- Step ‘outside’ the situation and ask yourself: how are these two people acting? What advice would you give these two people to help them work out their differences?
Step 4: Review what happened. What did you learn about yourself? What did you learn about the other person? How do you want to move forward from here?