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Agree to disagree at work
November 8, 2015, 5:01 pm

You want to put a plan into action, but the two of you just cannot come to a consensus. You think your ideas are perfect for the team. Your colleague, on the other hand, has some of his own. You think you are right. He thinks he is. It is ultimately up to you to implement the idea and you desire his support so you suppress your ideas and go forth with what he has in mind.

Plenty of people avoid conflicts at work because they do not want to rock the boat. As it turns out, disagreement is not always bad. In fact, psychologically it can be extremely positive, especially in a team environment. In reality, conflict exists as a natural and inevitable part of every relationship. Disagreement is the key to new, better born ideas—and by bringing unique thoughts or concerns to the table, you prove that you are adding valuable input to the team.

Here is how you can disagree without sounding impolite:

Learn to disagree: If two people think identically, there would be no need for the second person to be involved in making the decision. When two people think differently and/or have different experiences, there is an opportunity to learn from each other and make an even better decision. Disagreeing does not mean you are proving the other person wrong. It just means you have other opinions in mind.

Clarify the organization’s goals: If you are going to disagree with someone, ensure that you are clear on the vision and goals for the project prior to disagreeing with them on what they are saying or a solution they are proposing.

Listen for understanding: Everyone has different experiences and expectations. Let your counterpart speak first. Once spoken, you can lay down your ideas and suggest on how they can be implemented instead.

Change your goals from “maybe he is right” to “my ideas are not bad either”: Thinking you are not as smart as your counterpart will only result in loss of self confidence. Until and unless you do not put your ideas on the table, you will not know their value.

Pick your battles wisely: There are some disagreements that are not worth the time to disagree. In certain situations, it may be in your best interest to end the conversation with, “I am not sure I agree with your perception, but I know we will make it work.”

Thank the people who disagree with you: There is an opportunity to have an even stronger relationship and a more successful team with people who do not always think alike. If people have the guts to disagree with you, indirectly, they are helping you to become a better leader. Thank the people who are willing to speak up with an alternative opinion.

The primary goal of any team is to work together in an effort to meet larger and specific goals. Because each member of a team is unique, it is important for the group experience to humble bullies and lift up the more fearful counterparts. In this way, each individual grows, putting the team in an unbeatable position to attain its overall objectives. Conflict plays a major role in what builds the character of the team and its individuals.



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