Openness to Others

Developing receptiveness to others starts by believing that all people deserve respect and have a right to their own perspectives. This belief must be backed up with active listening skills, attending skills, good inquiry skills, and an interest in what matters to those around you. Openness to Others also demands the maturity to realize that you are not always right, that there can be many “right” ways of doing things, and that sometimes there are more important things than being right.

Openness to Others is usually easier when you are rested, not under time pressure, don’t feel stressed, and appreciate the individuals you are dealing with. Remaining open to others when these ideal conditions are not present means that you are progressing in developing this competency.

If any of these behaviors are true of you or associates, you’ll find action tips at

  • Avoids or is defensive about receiving feedback
  • Justifies behavior rather than seeking to understand his or her impact on others
  • Imposes authority or the power of position to influence others
  • Inflexibility
  • Fails to reach out to include those who disagree with him or her
  • Micromanages; assumes there is only one best way
  • Operates without questioning assumptions

Action learning tips and learning assignments on the job are a click away at

You might also consider (a sampling of suggestions from

Houston, Paul D., and Stephen L. Sokolow. The Spiritual Dimensions of Leadership. Thousands Oaks: Corwin Press, 2006.

Kirkland, Karen, and Sam Manoogian. Ongoing Feedback: How to Get It, How to Use It. Greensboro: CCL Press.

Covey, Stephen R. The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1989.

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