Why are we afraid to disagree? Are we worried about hurting someone? Hurting ourselves? Do we worry about looking stupid? Why do we focus on those feelings instead of focusing on why we want to disagree in the first place? Do we know how to REALLY disagree with someone?
That last question is the one that hit me. Generally, people don’t disagree with someone to upset them or hurt their feelings. Disagreement happens with good intentions and I really believe this. People disagree to expand horizons, offer different views, challenge the speaker to think/be/act more! But how do people learn how to do this well? How can you disagree without making someone feel defensive?
On teams, disagreement is necessary to achieve greatness. There are smart people who all have good ideas. Elements from a bunch of good ideas make a GREAT idea but you need disagreement to get there.
We need to learn how to effectively disagree and how to open ourselves and minds up to those who have the courage to disagree with us.
My response to the comment “How”:
Thank you for the nudge and the comment. I had a great reply, hit submit and *poof*. I’ll try to re-create it…
1. By listening – so often we aren’t listening to what the other person is saying. We’re thinking about what we’re going to respond with.
2. By aligning – we need to understand what the goal is. If each person is coming in with a different goal, it will be hard to align, disagree and agree. Common purpose. Align on it.
3. By asking – we don’t ask if people disagree. We ask if they agree. What would happen if we asked for disagreement?
4. By thanking – thank the people who disagree with you. They are probably doing it to help you NOT thwart you.
5. By acknowledging – there is more than one way.
6. By being open – we need to be open to trying different ways and approaches
7. By respecting – we need to disagree respectfully.