How to Handle Strong Beliefs and Differing Opinions

blog conflict resolution fearless feminine leadership mandy b. anderson women in leadership Jun 13, 2022

Today I want to talk to you about how to handle strong beliefs and differing opinions. I've got notes on my screen because I really want to stay focused on not go down a bunny trail!

Now, what I’m about to say will spur on strong opinions inside of you. You will most likely feel a bit uncomfortable and even be tempted to defend your own beliefs when I bring up some relevant cultural examples of how this issue currently shows up. That is a natural response when you feel threatened or unheard.

In those moments, recognize your feelings and then consider this: other people probably feel similar things when they are in your shoes. Recognizing this as a Leader is the first step in leading through situations like this.

"How do you handle strong opinions and strong personalities?" This is a common question that we get from our clients. Especially from female leaders who want to bring unity among team members but they might be more soft-spoken or just don’t really know what to do in the midst of differing opinions and strong personalities. 

Let’s dive in…

Ancient Wisdom Says:


“Do not rely on your own opinions." (Proverbs‬ ‭3:5‬ ‭TPT‬‬)

  • “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: And with all thy getting get understanding.” (‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭4:7‬ ‭KJV‬‬)

In all your getting, get understanding.

This means: you must let go of your pride and ego. Let go of the desire to be right, or to be seen as the hero.

You cannot lead in the tension of strong beliefs and differing opinions if you refuse to get understanding.

Most people defend their point of view instead of trying to understand the point of view of someone else. People tend to think that their belief and their opinion is the only way and therefore it’s impossible for two seemingly different beliefs to be true at the same time.

This shows up in teams whenever someone wants to try something new but other people think it's impossible. However, it also shows up in your personal life in ways that affect how you lead. Here are some examples of strong beliefs and opinions that are hindering your ability to bring unity and make smart decisions in the midst of differing points of view:

Many people believe...

  • You can either be pro-life or pro-choice - you can’t be both.

  • You can be a Christian or you can be a feminist but not both.

  • You can be a leader or a follower but not both.

Over the last few years, our society has come to see people with different or opposing views as people who are the enemy. This has to STOP. People who see things differently are not your enemy! They are PEOPLE who see the world differently - and that's okay. It's necessary, actually.

The truth is - in all of these instances and so many more - they can and do co-exist at the same time. Things are not always as black and white as you've been led to believe they are. Where ever you will find PEOPLE,  you will find a variety of life experiences that have shaped people's view points and this is why you must find the courage to handle strong beliefs and differing opinions with honor and respect. 

You actually can be pro-life and pro-choice at the same time. In fact, many people that are against let’s say, abortion, also strongly believe in having the choice to get vaccinated or not. That is pro-choice! It’s believing that every person has a choice to choose what they do with their bodies in every situation! 

You actually can be a feminist - someone who cares about equality for women, respecting women, and equipping women with skills so they can succeed - and a Christian at the same time. In fact, Jesus was all about giving women respect and an equal shot and I’ll even dare to say that He was the original feminist in that regard! 

You actually can be a Leader and a follower at the same time. In fact, you better be! That is a skill and not every leader has it. Learning how to co-lead and let other people lead the way, even among the people that you are leading, is an important skill that often builds unity and trust on a team. Not one leader is meant to have all the answers. 

The key to all of this is in your ability to listen and understand.

As a Leader, you’ve got to develop the skill of Listening to and Understanding every person you come into contact with. Not just the ones who share your beliefs and opinions. Not just the ones you get along well with. Not just the ones you admire or want to schmooze. Everyone.

This skill will take time. You will need a Coach to help you see your blindspots and hear the words you use that cause people to not trust or respect you. It will take time, but it will be worth it. It truly is how you begin to influence and lead others in the midst of strong beliefs and differing opinions.

So what DO you say in the midst of strong beliefs and differing opinions? This: "Thank you for sharing your view point with me - you've given me a lot to think about." And leave it at that.

And just so you know, this is something I continually need to work on, too. Because just like you, I struggle with this. It's hard to let go of your pride in this area! It's hard to let go of wanting to be understood! Know this: You can't force people to try to understand you. You can only lead by example.

So here's a recap of things to work on if you truly want to master this complicated people issue:

1. Recognize your own emotions and physical symptoms in moments where you feel strongly about things. And consider that other people feel similar things when they are in your shoes.

2. Listen more than you talk - understanding comes from listening, not from talking.

3. Work with a Coach to identify your own leadership blindspots and grow your skills in conflict resolution, communication, and implementing healthy coping skills in the face of stress.

Two ways that you can work with me at RAYMA Team include:

1. Click here to Apply to work with me 1:1 for six months in a private coaching package. You’ll get the highest level of support from me and access to all of our signature RAYMA Team Leadership Curriculum for supplemental growth to learn how to lead like a boss.


2. Click here to join the next 7-Week Leadership Experience for Women. We begin June 27th and the curriculum is: She Says YES, I Can. This coaching experience includes instant access to seven original leadership lessons to help you become a fearless feminine leader who says YES to new possibilities, a PDF download of our exclusive leadership book - She Says YES, I Can - two live Q&A calls with myself and my business partner + bonuses.

~Coach Mandy