How to disagree effectively?

24. 8. 2017

People often find it scary to disagree with someone, especially in the workplace. They are afraid of starting a conflict or losing the good relationship with their boss.

Yet, the most effective teams and organizations regularly disagree about ideas, goals, strategies, and implementation steps.

Only very few people realize how important it is to speak up your opinion. Today we bring you 6 tips on how to disagree – effectively - with your colleagues, bosses, and coworkers.

How to disagree effectively?

1. Don’t hold a conflict when you’re angry, emotional, or upset. You don’t want your emotions to affect your professionalism, arguments or data presentation. When speaking, at any point in a disagreement, stay calm. Your successful disagreement depends on it.

2. Disagreement should not be personal. You are not disagreeing with your coworker because you don’t like her. You are disagreeing based on facts and experience prior team successes and failures, your coworkers’ track record on similar projects, and your organization’s culture. Keep the discussion impersonal and productive.

3. Only speak for yourself and don’t try to speak for all of the team or department. Avoid phrases such as “We think, …” “In our opinion …” When coworkers speak this way, they think that they are putting weight behind their thoughts but all it does usually is make people angry.

4. You must be open to new ideas and different ways of approaching problems. Why is your way the best way when other ways to obtain the same result? In organizations, employees who can think about optimizing for the whole organization are the people who are promoted.

5. The goal is not to win but to clear the air in any disagreement at work. You want to know that the issues have been carefully discussed and thought about deeply. You want to make sure that your relationship with your colleague is intact.

6. Compromise when necessary. You may not agree on everything, but don’t let that fact keep you from reaching a general agreement on a direction or a solution. You will need to agree to disagree on aspects of the solution or problem solving.

Disagreement can be difficult and many people find it scary. But, if you practice these six approaches to disagreement, you’ll find that most of what you worry about won’t happen.

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