My last blog was a response to an article that I took some issue with, and I have to confess that I posted it with some trepidation. It took me a week to write and edit the blog, because I wanted to be very careful what I said and what tone I conveyed. I don't know the author of the article in question. He is a well-respected L&D professional in the UK whose work is known to many of my colleagues, but is someone whose experience and knowledge I am personally just becoming acquainted with. I didn't want to be offensive, and was very, very nervous about actually posting the blog (it took me three days to get up the courage to actually publish it once I had finished it).
To my surprise, not only did he read and respond to it, he thanked me for writing it:
Then he made a very nice comment when he re-tweeted my post:
Mr. Taylor's response was gracious and, well, adult. He didn't get nasty or sarcastic because I had expressed an opinion challenging his article. It was kind of him to re-tweet the link to my blog post with the intent of widening the discussion. Several other people have re-tweeted the link as well, and someone referenced it and Mr. Taylor's article in his own blog on the weekend. One person responded directly to me, questioning my use of an absolute in a context where it didn't fit--so I changed it because he was right. (I also made sure he understood that I appreciated his input.) Another person commented that he still agreed with the original article, but that he appreciated my response.
This is the kind of discourse people should be having. Constructive, thoughtful, respectful conversations that take into consideration the fact that we don't all have the same opinions or perspectives. The idea that everyone's opinion can deepen and broaden the discussion. That there is not necessarily a 'right' or 'wrong' stance on issues like this. That we can all have a voice and a place at the table.
I am encouraged by this whole experience. What I had hoped would happen, did. I was heard, treated with respect, got constructive feedback, and opened a dialogue around how we talk about leadership--what it looks like today, and where it might be going in the future. I hope I can continue to talk with Mr. Taylor and others about this topic in the days and weeks to come.