Are Your Disagreements Healthy?

Are Your Disagreements Healthy?

Are your disagreements healthy or are you fighting to the death?

There’s a good little write-up on that asks, “Are you getting your money’s worth from disagreements?

It’s inevitable when you have people working in a company there will be disagreements. In fact, we contend that disagreements are healthy in a cohesive and collaborative team.

The key is to make the most of your disagreements. Don’t just agree to disagree and be a curmudgeon that wants to argue each point. Guard against a me vs. you mentality and show respect, listen to the validity of the disagreement, and work together from the same side of the table to find a way forward.

This particular article brings up a point about asking yourself, “What type of debate are you having?” I find that’s often where the biggest confusion comes in with disagreements on our teams. Are we arguing that your idea is terrible or are we saying that your tactics of building your idea are off? Be clear about what is frustrating you, why you’re disagreeing, and work together to hear the other person fully—yeah hear, you know like use your 5 senses and really listen to the other person without trying to interrupt them to say what you want to say.

Questions to ask yourself as you’re entering into a disagreement with a team member:

  • What is the point of this? OR What is this really about?
  • Why am I so passionate about the point I’m trying to make?
  • Do I need some time to think this through before entering into a deeper debate?
  • Am I willing to compromise and listen to my counterpart’s side? (If yes, keep going. If no, you may need to check your motives.)
  • Is it worth the debate or are you being selfish, greedy, prideful, or whatever?

We’ve seen negotiations get caught up on nickel-and-dime conversations for months, when at the end of the day, we believe the team is right for the task, but the numbers are not making sense. Often one side won’t listen no matter how it’s communicated.

If you really value your team members, then listen to what they have to say. And allow them to tell you the honest truth from their side about whatever you’re discussing. At least that’s how we think you can get your money’s worth from disagreements.

(photo via thisisforever)