Effective problem solving is an essential tool to help insure the success of any organization. In the past decade or so many organizations have surrendered to the social pressure of implementing political correctness into the organizational culture. I suggest that rather than help solve problems PC has stifled constructive dialog and collaborative problem solving. PC advocates have basically shut down any differing viewpoint. This has eliminated any real chance to find common ground where the parties can begin to work toward finding long term solutions.
I propose that leaders implement a new approach – emotional correctness. What is emotional correctness? We all have learned it by another name – the Golden Rule. Treat others as you would like to be treated. No fancy titles, no fancy outcomes. By providing your employees with opportunities to get to know one another and modeling the same behavior, you set the stage where dialog and collaboration are valued. It’s very difficult to be a negative influence when all around you are showing respect and decency to one another. Emotional correctness (“EC”) encourages collaborative problem solving because we start from a point of common ground and a point where manners and respect are valued. Treating one another with respect encourages brainstorming and realistic evaluation of the various selected alternatives. Why? Because it encourages people to treat others as if they have value. With EC in place, the focus remains on the issue, situation or behavior, not the individual.
So, by whatever name we call it – EC, the Golden Rule, mutual respect, or whatever, let’s give this approach another try. Let’s see if we can return to an atmosphere of problem solving which focuses on the issues rather than allowing PC attacks on those who dare to have an original thought or idea.