Be DARING and Disagree!

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.

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5 thoughts on “Be DARING and Disagree!

    • 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.

      Your turn!

      • lilysonherway, this is a great list. Three things I’d add:

        8. By trusting – we’re usually all trying to figure out the best (or a good) way to approach things, keeping in mind others are trying to do the same helps us keep in mind that they may be attacking a facet of the problem in a different way then we’re considering.

        9. By affording people the ability to be human – we’re all fallible, we all have bad days, we all haves things in and out of work going on, some times we just need to people be human and not jump on their back.

        10. By restating the goal – often times we get some into the discussion (or argument) that we lose site of what we’re really after. Routinely checking what we’re fighting for or against can help reel us back into the objective at hand.

    • Remove some of the obstacles.

      Gently remind folks that “You’re not your code” [1], nor your technology, nor even your fave hero. Though this has been called shrinking the ego I’d rather think of it as encouraging the ego to return to its exalted palace.

      As a step towards this, lead an ongoing team exercise to discover the loci of their egos vis-a-vis others, and critically, _why_ they are where they are.

      Also look out for negative inhabitation.

      [1] http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/2006/05/the-ten-commandments-of-egoless-programming.html

  1. Pingback: Constructive Conflict Leads to Better Solutions | Adventures in Learning

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