This year ‘s political discourse has been brutal. Conversations between presidential candidates quickly turn into verbal warfare, scathing social media posts solicit scathing replies, and family gatherings can get heated. Rather than two-way conversations, these political dialogues often become “mutual monologues—laced with verbal Molotov cocktails designed not to invite reflection but to discredit the other position (or person).”
While this divisiveness is particularly heightened in politics right now, it also manifests in social sector organizations. Divisive discourse often stems from deep philosophical divides. These might emerge when an organization is adopting a new strategy, shifting program direction, navigating generational differences or determining which tactics to use to achieve goals. In these situations, “mutual monologues” can severely stunt an organization’s ability to drive transformational change.
Through our work, we’ ve learned the critical nature of communication and ways individuals can bridge philosophical divides. It takes specific actions with a dose of humanity—neither of which is as easy as it sounds.
How to Bridge Philosophical Divides
Check in: If you see divisive discourse in your organization, explore whether the root cause is connected to a fundamental difference in values or philosophies. Naming that difference will inform your