Week 10 – Lessons in Leadership – Chris Benge

Chief of Staff Benge focused his message on pragmatism and working with individuals who may not always agree with your views. What are you doing now, or what can you do, to engage with those who may view things differently, and what strategies or practices can you use to try and find solutions to challenges.


  • Jared Bross

    I have always tried to listen to people when they talk to me. It’s one thing if it’s someone talking on television, but if someone in real life is speaking to me, I just try and hear them out. It’s really weird to me that just being in the same room with another person can sometimes make you seem more reasonable. I remember in my college English 1 class that we debated smoking on campus for a paper and there was a group discussion, and when I spoke to one of my classmates later they specifically said they though I was more reasonable than some of the other’s who disagreed with them because I just listened and didn’t attack their belief. I think the problem is a lot about the mindset you bring more than the beliefs you hold.

  • Nathan Henry

    In today’s political and social climate, most people don’t actually listen or pay attention to other viewpoints. We follow twitter accounts that post things we agree with. We make friends that share our ideals. When someone disagrees with someone else it’s no longer an educated, civil debate. It ends up being a yelling match over facebook, without anyone actually listening to the other side. Personally, I think that in order for us to get past this and begin to heal the divide in our nation we have to actually listen to people we don’t agree with and understand the viewpoint they’re sharing. Listening and understanding is crucial to any meaningful communication. We have to start listening to each other again and find solutions together before we can accomplish anything.

  • Kateri Krug

    I have always been an empathetic person. I have no trouble putting myself into other peoples shoes and understand their experiences, the way they act, or their beliefs. Growing up, I was not always empathetic. I had my own ideas and I thought those were the only ones I should care about. By as I grew older, I began to think about treating others how I would like to be treated. This helped me become more understanding towards others, and has created me into the leader I am today.

  • Hannah Morrison

    To engage with others who believe differently than yourself, I think it is important to connect on another level besides your disagreement. Even if you can only agree to respect each other’s opinions and converse civilly, that is a noticeably more effective way to communicate than the alternative. To do this, you must remain intentional about maintaining respectful dialogue as both parties engage. Another useful tip to keep in mind is that it is entirely possible to support one idea or opinion without degrading another. Civil discourse can be healthy and effective when used properly.

  • Haleigh Himes

    I think the most important thing I can do when working with individuals who may not always agree with my views is to first listen. If at all possible I try to get an understanding of their reasoning behind their beliefs, which helps me see their perspective. Through my personal experience, I try not to make it a competition of who is right or who is wrong. If an individual feels defensive or attacked, they will be less likely to listen to my reasoning no matter how logical it may be. I think the most successful way of working with others or finding a solution to a challenge, is looking for common ground and similarities on which we can build.

  • Kacie Teigen

    I think that one of the most important Covey Habits is Seek first to understand and then to be understood. This applies in many different situations, and working with people that you may not get along with is definitely one of them. I have been involved in community service on multiple levels, leadership efforts through my town and its area, and student government since I was in elementary school and throughout high school. All of these activities have helped me be more empathetic with many different cultures and socio-economic groups – which is of utmost importance in my career choice and my life direction. I have deliberately surrounded myself with people from the business community, organizations, non-profit professionals and people in need as part of my personal education. This is in addition to being very active in groups of my peers through school and activities such as the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) camp that I go to every year. All of this has provided me with the mentors and relationships necessary as I strive to become more open-minded, self-motivated and tolerant.

  • Caylin Talk

    Currently, I am taking part in a small group once a week and it gives me the opportunity to hear other individuals perspectives and experiences that are both similar and different from my own. Personally, I enjoy when people view things differently than I do because it allows me to be more open and aware of how others may be feeling about my choices and the choices of others. Usually I try and find most of my solutions to some of these common challenges by communicating with those around me or those involved. I feel as if that is the most efficient way to resolve any issue because you’re not only making the situation better for yourself, but you are ensuring that everyone around you is benefitted through the decision as well.

  • Anna Schmidt

    Something I’ve been realizing lately about people, and their beliefs, is that each of us root our opinions and our values in something really deep. Maybe we believe what we do because of family tradition or cultural tradition. Or maybe our religion, school, or environment have instilled in us convicting reasons to hold the beliefs that we do. So we’re all going to think we have it right. We’re all going to think that our ideas are the best. And I think that the best way to respond to a world full of people who think like this, in a pragmatic way, is not to let go of what feels right to you, and what matters to you, but instead just being able to respect that everyone else has convictions just as strong as yours, even if those convictions are different. I think what a lot of people don’t realize is that we are all forming beliefs and opinions based on our own experiences, and our own environments. But we all experience vastly different lives and environments. Sometimes it’s really difficult to respect that but I think someone who is truly pragmatic does. They understand that even if someone else’s beliefs are different and contradictory to yours, they are still valid, still important, and still worthy of respect.

  • Mandy Woodward

    Whether it is in a professional or personal environment, you will never be surrounded by people that have the same perspectives and beliefs as you on all levels. When engaging with people that do not posses the same ideas as you, being respectful and having an open mind is key. Take their idea into consideration and try to make yourself see it from their side. Immediately shutting down their idea is completely disrespectful and shows your lack of communication skills and trouble in being cooperative. In Benge’s speech he touched on pragmatism, which is the idea of analyzing the idea and seeing if it is practical and can be backed up. If is it logical and can be supported it is right. Everyone is free to their own opinion and it is okay to disagree, as long as you always have support to back up your claim. Always keep an open mind and and remember to be respectful of other’s ideas because it is a lot easier to work together if you posses those traits.

  • Phoebe Barnes

    My group in Lessons in leadership’s word is listening. Listening is critical when it comes to engaging in those who view things differently and how to work with those who do not think like you do. One of the ways I try to listen and bridge gaps in general is to try to look at both sides of the coin or play devils advocate when thinking about why people believe certain things or when deciding how to solve a problem. Having listening be the word for my group made me especially try to listen myself when working with everyone and coming up with ideas. Hearing people out and not letting their words go in one ear and out the other is critical when learning how to work with others and how to better bridge gaps of differing opinions.

  • Riley Jensen

    One way that I’ve tried to engage with people I disagree with is by being empathetic and compromising to find solutions. Sometimes it can be easy to get tunnel vision when it comes to ideas or problems, but when you attempt to relate and reason with people you can find ways to come together. This is something that’s hard to find these days, especially when it comes to politics. People are quick to judge, unable to listen to others’ experiences, and unable to learn from others.

  • In all jobs there will be people who have different views on a topic or how to do one specific thing. One of the biggest things that I do now is listen to both sides of the situation before speaking up about something. Being able to hear both sides and really understand where the other persons view is coming from can lead to a successful ending. However, defending your side is also a big deal. The outcome will always depend on the way someone defends their side. Being respectful and understanding will always be the way to go. Letting your emotions get to you can lead to a distasteful ending. Keeping good standings with those who disagree with you will always help with the relationship when trying to achieve something the two does not agree on. Going in with a positive mindset and an understanding attitude will always be a huge advantage.

  • Conflict in thinking is part of human interaction, especially when you have group work. Not only in colleges, but also in the outside world that you have to meet and work with different individuals that you have never met before. Moreover, every person has their own thought and personality, the skill of how to manage and take advantage of those differences is what also makes an effective leader. Personally, to engage with those who may view things differently, the first thing I will do is determining how my perception differs from the others, and from that I can adjust my thinking to work best with others’ ideas. It is just like how I will fit in as an outsider in a foreign country. The next step will be listening and thinking to multiple perceptions. In order to better understand them, I will examine myself to pay attention, remember, and interpret messages within the communication process. Also, I must respect everyone points of view, pick one of the best ideas from each person’s perception and put them into real action. From that, me and my co-workers can both overcome all problems. Overall, learning to see issues and experiences from multiple perspectives can be a challenging task, but the effort is worth it. Increased understanding about each other can positively impact my communication and improve the experience to which I can share to become a good leader.

  • Alaina Webster

    I think my dad raised me to be open minded from the time I was really young. So, when I got into college it was not a huge shock to me that everyone has different views. I know I am lucky because a lot of people come to college kind of sheltered and thy have a huge culture shock because they were taught with only one view. To me, it is always important to have your own opinions and know what you wanna stand for, but you also have to acknowledge and learn to appreciate other people’s view too. That is one thing I struggle with, I tend to get frustrated when people don’t care for the other side of the argument. I am starting to learn that just because I care about other people’s opinions does not mean that that is how other people are to. I think everybody could learn something from every person on this earth and I think that is the most important part about growing as a person.

  • Jimmey Brown

    In order to be a leader, I believe one must be courageous enough in working with opposing viewpoints. When dealing with different views I try having an optimistic mindset at first by writing things down, knowing their interest, and not relying on memory too much being open minded. Some practices that helps me when dealing with different views is accepting challenge as a opportunity to grow and do better.
    Other strategies that works for me include remaining calm to avoid flaring letting the person know where I am coming from by letting them in on the reason behind my actions and treating others with respect. If everything else failed then I ignore because it means I have done everything within my means.

  • Madison Walker

    In my opinion, there will always be people in your life that will disagree with everything you do/say. Not everyone will agree with your beliefs either. It’s hard to get along with someone when you have absolutely nothing in common with, but I find that kind of fun. I believe it would be very boring if I met the same type of people everyday. Meeting people who you can barely stand, is actually quite funny, it makes you wonder how people even like that person, but they could easily be thinking the same about you. Using this in my daily life and where I work is very challenging at times, but at the same time, intriguing. It makes life a little less boring when you find someone who knows nothing of the things that you do. When we get to know one another, I believe we get to know ourselves a little better. In actuality, the people that get on your nerves and that you can’t hardly stand to even look at, may make you ask yourself if you sometimes are that person. I believe encountering those “hard to handle” people, may make us a better person.

  • Elizabeth Plunkett

    The things I am doing now and will continue to do in order to engage with others who have different opinions of me is to continue working with them. For example, I do not agree with everybody in my Big Brother Big Sister group, I do not agree with everything people decide in my sorority, and in class I do not agree with my group partners. However, I believe that the best way to overcome these differences is to keep working with a variety of opinions in order to first-hand learn how to deal with these issues. When deciding what to do, the most important thing to remember is to chose something that the majority of the people will be happy with and make sure the decision is best for everybody around, not just yourself. Sometimes we might think that our ideas are best, but they might not be the best for everybody. In order to get along with others in a group, the strategy to being successful is to remember to decide what is best for everybody; do not be selfish.

  • Molly Booth

    My whole life I’ve always been a person of compromise and working with others. The biggest thing you can practice to achieve a solution is listening. Everyone has to be open to listen, not just hear. When you take the time to allow someone else to not just state their opinion but explain their reasoning behind it, you learn much more about them and gain a better understanding of how to blend their wants and needs with that of your own to hopefully reach a decision that benefits both.
    Another practice I find important is humility. Sometimes, probably more often than not, you have to be the one to step back, in a group, to allow and help others to fulfill their goals. This may not be the most satisfying or popular decision but I’ve discovered that people take notice of others with humility, are extremely grateful, and tend to turn back around to help that person achieve what they want. Now with humility, getting repaid should not be your goal but sometimes it is a “beneficial consequence.”
    Every single person on this planet is “different” and I think once we realize that there is no us versus them, we, as citizens, will be able to make many more improvements to our communities, nation, and globe.

  • Alexis Peeper

    As a leader I enjoy hearing other views and opinions. Taking others views into perspective can be effective in many different ways because it broadens the topic by approaching it from different angles. It is also nice to hear other perspectives and why they think the way they do. It allows me to see the various views from different perspectives and it helps mold my own views. By having an open mindset it has made me more successful because it has made me realize some of my opinions have flaws to them. One of the biggest obstacles for teams is not being pragmatic. Teams could make leaps and bounds if each member would become more open minded and listen as much as they talked. I try to take all of this into account when I am in leadership roles and even in the classroom settings.

  • Carlos Perez

    According to Chris Benge we need to know that your reputation and who you are will be determinate by yourself, also a lot of people want to be the best but they do not how to pass de ball or how to block in the real live . Often you to know how to listen in this way we can pass a lot challenges that the live show us.

  • Brenda Martinez

    Chris Benge talked about his work experiences in his life, to overcome the challenges, and these options that in my point of view are very useful when it comes to getting involved with those who have concepts very different from ours. For example; We must take our time to understand what people need, understand the interests of people who live together daily, identify problems, list possible solutions, and evaluate options. These options help to look for strategies to the different problems that every day face each one.

  • Abigail J Spiers

    Every single person on this planet has their own views, opinions, and differences. Sometimes it can be hard or difficult to work with others. For me, one of my strengths is Harmony and I really believe in remaining peaceful and respectful when dealing with a challenge. I think being pragmatic and peaceful while still trying to voice my opinion is the best option. There is no need for arguments because no work will be accomplished and won’t help anyone in the long run. Always stay respectful.

  • Kamryn Johnson

    I think one of the most important things in life is opposition to your beliefs. Not only does it help you grow, it helps you better understand why you believe what you do. I think the best way to engage with those who oppose you, is to try and understand it their way for just a little while. Maybe, if you try to see it their way, they will do the same and then you can both leave with a better understanding of each other and the belief in question. When someone challenges the way you view things, you don’t force them to see it your way. I think understanding that everyone is entitled to their own opinion and that they may not see things the same way as you, is the best solution to dealing with a situation like that. Overall, engaging with people who don’t agree with you requires you to be able to step away from the subject in question and treat them as a normal human being and not someone who disagrees with you. Then, the best strategy to work through those differences is to challenge each other to see it through the opposite viewpoint, if only for a second.

  • Cynthia Gallardo

    Working with people that do not agree with your views can be difficult, but it is a common thing that happens. Something that I can do to engage with people who have different views than me is to focus on our main goal and priorities. There can be a lot of debate or back and forth, but the completing what needs to be done is the most important part. Compromise is another thing that I value when working with others with opposing views. We might not agree with each other by the end, but we can find a compromise in order to move forward. Something that I have a bad habit of doing is biting my tongue when I do not agree with something. I do not want to come off as rude or create a problem, but I have realized that my thoughts or opinions have value just like everyone else’s. Being respectful with others’ opinions while sharing my own is the best way to handle situations like this. Strategies that I can use to find solutions to challenges like this is to stay calm, have an open mind, and do not get frustrated. Everybody gets frustrated, but managing this frustration allows me to think rationally with a clear head. Another strategy is to keep in mind that people’s intentions with their actions. Some people are not difficult on purpose, so I find it very important to try to understand people’s true intentions.

  • Olivia Sharp

    I believe that keeping an open mind to other people’s views is crucial in order to engage others. If we focus more on the things that the people around us view things and see their different perspectives, we can go out and speak with more knowledge and without a sense of tension from a disagreement.

  • Kallie Daniel

    I believe the solution to engaging with those who view things differently than you is quite simple. If a person knows that someone has a different view on a certain topic, avoid the topic. More than likely, the ideas a person stand on by college are the ideas they believe in. A person will probably not change their mind, so do not try to make them. The things that I stand true on where instilled in me by my parents and their parents instilled it in them. If a person wants to discuss a trivial topic they need to be prepared to hear both sides and consider both sides.

  • D'Lajiah Fields

    When I engage with people who may view thing differently from me, I acknowledge that everyone was raised differently and may voice different opinions. For example, being in college, I hear and see a lot of different opinions and beliefs. To deal with the differences I respect each person as an individual and put my thoughts and beliefs below the surface.
    On the flip side, when certain beliefs and opinions are above surface, I tend to deal with them accordingly. I listen to one’s opinion and voice my own, I still keep my emotions below the surface and speak as critical and positive as I can. I even take deep breaths when I find myself getting worked up, but I “never let the enemy see me sweat”.

  • Samir Pitty

    By getting involved with people of different thoughts and with different ideas, you will encounter many challenges and tests that will, of course, have to be faced with maturity and intelligence. For this, it is important to always take into account each point of view of each person and put it in the discussion, since the dialogue is always the way to the solution of any problem, regardless of the seriousness. Always evaluating the disadvantages and advantages, sources of credibility should be included to support the ideas that already exist. To try to reach an agreement, the strategy that I would take into account would be the implementation of credible sources of truth outside the ideas I already have and in this way reach a decision that favors each person involved.

  • Dakota Gann

    As of right now, I’m taking steps to work with people with different views but similar goals by joining a fraternity. These men come form a wide variety of backgrounds and cultures but all share a similar goal, the advancement of our brotherhood. While our views differ, we can always work together to achieve our goals. A few strategies I’ve learned that relate to working with people with varying views from my own would be to always be open to accepting constructive criticism, keeping an open mind while others speak, and to never get defensive when talking about strategies. Almost everyone I’ve met has had different ideas about getting to our goals but in the end, we can either compromise or someone can admit that the other has a better strategy to attain our goal. I’m not afraid to step down and admit when I think someone has a better idea than I do but I also know how to compromise with another individual and reach a common ground.

  • Jacqueline Cabrera

    What I am doing now to take engage with those who may view things differently is working group projects. In a few of my classes we are currently working on projects and in almost all the groups I’ve been put in is full of individuals with different beliefs and passions so our job is to speak all of our minds and come together to one conclusion. Most of the situations aren’t too challenging to resolve but it does require me to set my beliefs aside and listen to every detail of what everyone else has to say, take it into consideration and then give my input. In many ways, these strategies can help on a day to day basis so I’m learning to incorporate them in my routine regularly.

  • Rachel Hunt

    It is important when dealing with people who have different opinions to remain humble. Pretending to know all aspects of an issue or controversy is not a trait of a true leader. I have learned that the best conversations come from educated people who are passionate about what they believe without trying to force their opinions on others. I think it is also important to be well rounded in your thinking; it is never a bad thing to know all sides of an issue. Not so you can turn someone else’s argument against them, but so you can understand where they are coming from. Naturally, if you understand someone, you will be more likely to be patient and gracious. My perspective has, also, changed because I have been willing to hear people out. The more you know someone personally, the easier it is to compromise and work together. I work best with people whose beliefs differ from mine when I know them for other reasons besides their point of view. Sometimes you will have to sacrifice and set aside your own preferences to be successful; it is an unavoidable aspect of being a leader. Good leaders listen and set aside their stubbornness for the good of the people they are leading. That is why one of the most important traits of a leader is pragmatism.

  • Keisy Quiel

    The Chief of Staff Benge’s presentation was interesting and helpful. I think that pragmatism is too important for our successful development during our college and job because it makes us more optimistic, energetic and active. I would have to listen more and do not try to impose my opinion with the people who have a different point of view. Another thing that I think that is important is to respect the opinion of others but also it is important to focus on the aim. I would try to in use the best option and how it can work for the team, group or the aim. Most of the time we are going to have different views; I would recommend that we listen to others first and staying open to new things because are important to recognize that others also can have bright ideas. Chief of Staff Benge talk about using the finesse and I totally agree with this point because if we share our point with finesse the people are going to stay willing to listen to us.

  • Sean Miller

    I recently started my second/(third) current job at a nationwide upscale clothing retailer. Coming from an extremely hard working family, and in the most non-narcissistic way possible, I have developed an unparalleled work ethic. Some of my coworkers, however, have a slightly different definition of “on-clock” work. It has been a bit of a struggle adapting to an environment with slower and less motivated people, and trying to remain under the radar to escape any backlash for being more productive. What I have managed to do though is find jobs they hate a little less and try to reassign them the jobs I need done. That way, despite their lack of interest, they can at least work with a slightly less bitter taste in their mouths. Increased happiness (even slight) increases productivity and heightens the atmosphere. And by being able to decipher conflicts of interest, I can assist in that boost.

  • Sage Kroeker

    No one will ever work in an environment where they agree 100% with the people around them. Similarly, as leaders, we will always experience differences with those we are leading. For this reason, I believe strongly in the idea of perspective. If you believe that any belief that isn’t your own is wrong, then you discredit the person behind it. In order to effectively lead and serve those around you, you must be able to see them as people, and their beliefs as valid. Whether their ideas are possibly right or clearly wrong, it doesn’t change the fact that something caused them to have that idea. Keeping an open-minded perspective on ideas and beliefs allows us to approach people with less pride, and therefore less hostility. Once we learn to respect people’s beliefs and ideas, we can learn to put our own differences aside and live in harmony with those around us.

  • We are living in a world where nothing is the same. Every people in this world is special, and they have different thinking. The people are different, so it is natural that we have a different point of view, but there are people who do not know how to handle their differences, assume conflicting attitudes at work or at the university. I think that is difficult to try with this type of people because you want to talk about a topic or even you want to do something different and very bright, but for other your idea is wrong, and they do not want to listen to you.
    The first thing that I am doing to deal with this problem is to know to listen to other people when they told you something disagrees with you. When I Listen to other people can know if I am in the incorrect or no, and after that, I can accept my mistake.
    Second, it is before any trouble, do not take it personally. It is very natural to have a disagreement, maybe it is good to keep calm, breathe and count to ten. Conflict people, lose control of their emotions easily and clear your anger with you.
    Not every people in this world will agree with you, but the important thing is to feel free to express your thinking and do not be upset when someone told you something bad. Try to deal with this kind of people.

  • Abdulmalik Shehu

    As a leader, it is very important to listen to your colleagues. Although, most times they look up to you but bear in mind, you can learn a thing or two from them and sometimes their suggestions and/or idea may be the right decision therefore it is okay to agree to agree to disagree. a leader is not always right. sometimes you have to respect people’s views.

  • Aubrey Crook

    We all have those people we just can’t seem to find common ground with. Especially in college, we are exposed to new perspectives and ideas all the time. It is important to develop not only confidence in what we believe, but also have an open mind when faced with ideas that challenge them. I always try to be considerate when engaging with people who believe differently, because sometimes it seems that they only want to argue. I am fine with discussing conflicting ideas as long as it is civil and respectful. I think that one thing I can do to more effectively find a solution is to not only hold my beliefs, but be able to back them up with facts. In the end, being firm but respectful is my best strategy when engaging with people with conflicting ideas.

  • Amelia Perez

    I truly believe that in order to be successful in the professional field you must learn how to communicate and find common ground with everyone. Putting yourself out there to try to compromise with someone you know may not agree with you is a difficult thing to do, but it is important to seek out these challenges in order to be able to grow and develop as a leader. Seeking to engage with those who don’t necessarily agree with you doesn’t mean you should go out and start arguments with people, but rather than avoid conflict and become complacent, speak your opinion and let your voice be heard. By owning up to your words and staying open minded to other perspectives, you are able to grow so much as a leader. For finding solutions, the best strategy is communication and open-mindedness. The most important step to solving a problem is just showing up and opening that channel of communication with the other person. Likewise, staying open-minded will prove to be much more beneficial to your overall success and leadership skills.

  • Karabo Pamela Moalafi

    Being able to have different points of views regarding a particular subject enhances diversity in the workplace. The diversity and the ability to freely and openly speak out ones’ thoughts on a specified issue often gives a platform of disagreements between colleagues. These disagreements may mount to the success and/or failure of the business. As a result, a good leader like myself ought to be democratic so that none of my co-workers feel that their opinions were of no use. Some if not most of the time, I’d integrate the ideas of my colleagues to nourish and build up my team and promote cooperation.

  • Karabo Pamela Moalafi

    Being able to have different points of views regarding a particular subject enhances diversity in the workplace. The diversity and the ability to freely and openly speak out ones’ thoughts on a specified issue often gives a platform of disagreements between colleagues. These disagreements may mount to the success and/or failure of the business. As a result, a good leader like myself ought to be democratic so that none of my co-workers feel that their opinions were of no use. Some if not most of the time, I’d integrate the ideas of my colleagues to nourish and build up my team and promote cooperation. As the saying goes, a happy employee, a productive workplace.

  • Tucker Pawley

    There is many ways you can go about dealing with people but the most important thing to always remember is you don’t always have to agree with their decision but you must respect them and listen to what they have to say. That best kind of leader is the one who can listen and might not always agree or like what the other person is saying but just listen. Some strategies you might use is listening to what they have to say and then put your view into there perspective. You can also bounce ideas off each other by listening and coming up with even your very own perspective. There is many way you can look at it but I believe the best is to listen and respect what they have to say and then respectively give what you believe.

  • Kennedy Staton

    There will always be situations where people do not agree with my ideas or opinions. It is an important lesson to learn how to deal with that. I think the best thing to do is to listen to their thoughts and respect them even though you disagree. Diagreeing with someone can be challenging, but in some instances can be a teaching and growing moment.

  • Angelina Sibimon

    As leaders in our community, taking into account everyone’s views is important, even if we do not necessarily agree with their opinion. in order to engage with those who may views things differently we need to listen and take into consideration their opinion. We all have opinions and they are not all going to be the same, so it is very important that we make sure to listen.

  • James Limbaugh

    A main strategy of mine when dealing with someone with opposing views is to, listen more as opposed to speaking more. Often times, people try to be the loudest voice in a conversation, which is usually perceived in a negative way. To avoid making people defensive of their ideals, it is crucial to first listen to other ideals. If you show a person you are willing to listen, often times they will show you respect in return. Respect and compromise are two key qualities that are undervalued in our society today, being able to overcome that is critical.

  • Isabella Katery

    I should start saying it was really difficult to me to relate with people who view things differently. Nowadays I am still working on that but I really improved my communication with people. Art helped me to improve my communication skills because I am always meeting new people and working with them. I have learned that everybody is different and has different opinions and that opinions need to be respected. Listening to every member of your group’s opinion can always bring something new to a group job or project. When I am working with a group of people, I am always aware of everybody participating and sharing his or her ideas with the group. It improves the team work and gives better results. Being a good listener is one of the most important parts of being a good leader.

  • Baylee Schmidlkofer

    I often have found myself in a situation of pragmatism during this semester. I have never made a big deal about it because I have been willing to listen and see other viewpoints than mine. It is an interesting thing to hear other perspectives, I have just learned to adapt. Pragmatism is a thing that you may not see eye to eye on, but the willingness to listen is how you overcome that.

  • Erika Diaz

    I think it’s important to listen to those who have different views than your own. I try to listen and hear what other people have to say to gain more insight. I find that putting myself in someone else’s shoes leads to having less disagreements and makes me more careful in what I say. One strategy we can use to come to a solution is to be inclusive, honestly consider the other persons perspective. Another way is interaction. We need to interact with the person by asking and listening to find out the concerns and circumstances as perceived or experienced by the person.

  • Breely Frasco

    To be constantly expanding competency in a social, cultural, and personal aspect, engaging in thought provoking conversations is vitle. College campuses, especially The University of Central Oklahoma, frequently offer students the opportunity to participate in discussions from public speakers, to even group projects in the classroom. While Universities offer these opportunities, it is the student’s responsibility to actively participate. At the University of Central Oklahoma, I have involved myself in organizations that allow me to both listen to my peers and speak upon my beliefs, all the while in a professional manner. From my experience in these conversations, I have noticed that in order to be respected, my respect must be given first; if I want to be heard, I must listen first. Practicing respect and truly listening to others goes a long way in difficult conversations.

  • Katie Edmonson

    I’m a very open person with my beliefs and that is very controversial to stand up for your beliefs. I’ve learn how to respect others beliefs but I do not have to accept them. I also believe if you have a belief that is disrespectful to someone else’s existence or if you decide to mock others within your “beliefs” I do not have to respect them. Beliefs aren’t a right to hate on others! I’m a liberal Democrat who openly votes and work on campaigns that I believe in. I know how to handle others with opposing beliefs because of livening in “Red State” of Oklahoma. I always try to focus on something that person I find difficult and I have in common. Finding common ground or the balance in things has always kept me grounded. In leadership specifically I’ve worked with others who were very hard to get along with but I reminded myself that we were working towards a goal. For an example, my arch enemy is very annoying but she is a reliable person. If you ask her to do something she will get the job done. Even though I don’t like her I’m able to separate my bias personal opinions over her and see that she does have good work ethic which is a good characteristic of a human being.

  • Joceline Lopez

    You should look carefully at all the points of what you should fix, observe and analyze each point and see which one is best so that all is well. The best strategy to solve a challenge is to see the problem in a different way in all kinds of angles and it will be easier to understand and solve it.

  • Keondra Whisenhunt

    Chief of Staff, Chris Benge’s, message of pragmatism is such an important message now more than ever. With all the tension in hostility in the world we as people are so quick to judge and tear those down who believe differently than us. I believe it is important for us as a society to not allow our own beliefs to cloud our judgment and hinder our ability to relate with others. We are quick to point out the differences instead of the similarities. In a world run by social media it is important for us all of us including me to not allow the media to continue dividing us as it already has. I want to make sure that I am listening first before I am reacting. I know that sometimes I can be quick to shut people down because their views are different than me, but even if I will never agree with their views I want to grow as a listener, and allow others to have an opportunity to share their views and values. Focusing less on division whether it is social media or in conversation I want to focus on the similarities instead of differences and not be so quick to shut others down with varying opinions than me.

  • Working with people that don’t agree with you can be challenging, but being apart of leadership is finding ways to adapt. Everyone can have their own opinions in different areas of life. It’s good to always let other peoples voices be heard. You have to know the strengths and weaknesses of your piers to learn how to make solutions to each challenge that might occur. Its good to attack different challenges at different angles. You’ll be better at making decisions when coming to leadership.

  • Brevin Senner

    In our every day lives, there will always be somebody who disagrees with something you say. Eventually if I tell somebody that the sun comes up in the east they will question me about that. In all reality, these situations just come down to listening to their side of the argument. Listening is an important trait to have and to be good at. Not only is listening to someone the right thing to do, but it is also respectful. The simplest way to have an argument is for both sides to be put forward, and at the end of it one person just needs to say, hey I here what you are saying but I disagree with it. In my opinion that is the simplest way to say something like that. Another side to the story is when you are hearing what another person is saying, it is a good opportunity to learn and maybe in the future be on that side of the argument.

  • Sheila Claunch

    Right now I can work on engaging others who view things differently than me through my walk with Christ. I know many people who do not believe in or know the love of Christ. I am able to engage with those individuals by telling them my story and talking to them about what I have been through and how I have felt the love of Christ in my life. It is not an easy subject to talk about to people who do not believe, but I know that it is very important for me to try to engage those people and tell them about Christ because it is my job as a Christian to do so. I have been given this opportunity so many times, and I have not taken this opportunity so many times, but I am now choosing to take this opportunity to hopefully teach others about Christ. I know that many people will not want to hear it and that’s okay because everyone is entitled to believe what they want, but I will still try my hardest.

  • Austin Markham

    I am currently speaking with someone who disagrees with my religious views and him and I battle it out some days but most we both want to learn and grow from that. My strategy, as always is to be respectful and always have an open mind, because everyone always has a reason for their belief.

  • Paige Warrior

    Communication is key to forming unity throughout the diversity of the mindsets that are offered within society. Society begets many viewpoints that are opposing with one another and can be divisive when proper discussion is not had. I am learning to be more open with communicating with those who may oppose to my views and standards of living. Within this state of mind, I am able to grow in the perception of the world to me. This way of thinking also allows for the ability to impact the world in a better way.

  • What are you doing now, or what can you do, to engage with those who may view things differently, and what strategies or practices can you use to try and find solutions to challenges.

    I engage with people who view things differently then me every day here at UCO. UCO is an extremely diverse campus and this brings a mix of different beliefs and views. I believe it is important to understand where these different views come from and learn from others ideas. It often gives you a fresh view to something you may have begun to see in a stagnant way. While different views are very important to any situation they often create tension. I have found for myself the best way to resolve this situation is to make sure everyone is attempting to understand why the other person feels the way they do. I also think it’s important for everyone to feel like they are contributing because if they do not it is easy to get frustrated.

  • Christian Coleman

    Mr. Benge addressed one of the most important topics in today’s society. The overall climate of the U.S is not good because individuals with different views and opinions can’t come to an even middle ground. Are you currently try to help the current situation by trying to remain open to all views and opinions. I feel that I can have a more profound impact if I helped organize or host a town hall meeting that addresses major issues and concerns of individuals who have opposing views. Before closing the meeting out a middle ground mediator will explain both sides and propose a middle ground and possible solution. In order for society to advance we must all be on one accord and that’s through understanding opposing and working to together.

  • Lincoln Lehew

    As a leader people are not always going to agree with what your leadership style is. What you can do with those people, is find a middle and try to include everybody’s opinion.

  • When I am facing different viewpoints and trains of thought, I tend to struggle becoming overbearing. Having the personality that I have, I tend to have the “my way or the highway” point of view. I lately have been practicing on my patience and listening skills. Although they happen to be areas I struggle in, I feel myself growing daily and I have realized that I haven’t gotten as frustrated or upset when someone has a different viewpoint then mine. At the end of the day, the effort you put into growing and developing will mold who you become!