Here’s an idea I’m sure you haven’t thought of lately and may not even agree with…you need to add disagreement into your business strategy. (Catch what I did there?) Hear me out on this idea before you move on to a more favorable blog topic. I’m not suggesting you should promote a combative culture that leads to constant hostility in the workplace. What I am suggesting is promoting sincere communication, which inevitably will be proven with moments of disagreement.

One of the most significant evidences of a company culture that promotes sincere communication is how disagreement is embraced.

Several years ago I worked for 3 months on a project to introduce a reward and recognition platform into a company I was working for. The work I put in included countless emails, phone calls, and face to face meetings along with some travel. It was a project that I anticipated receiving my own recognition for the hard work I had put into it. When the day came to introduce my work I was expecting a great reception to my ideas in launching the platform across the company. NOPE. The leaders I presented the platform to disagreed with the use of the platform and with that disagreement all my work felt wasted. It took a bit to get past my own pride, but once I did there were valuable lessons I learned about disagreement in business that we should all embrace…

  1. Disagreement doesn’t devalue your view or work. It does value collaborative work, which allows for differing views to be expressed.
  2. Disagreement doesn’t need to result in hostility. It is critical to the success of a business as it allows for honest feedback leading to better-quality work.
  3. Disagreement doesn’t indicate discord in a team’s dynamic. It does indicate a vibrant team culture that embraces authenticity and leads to all team members feeling their perspective should be heard.

Ultimately you don’t want employees disagreeing just to disagree, but when it is leveraged in constructive ways it can really lead to a healthier workplace. As leaders, how we allow disagreement to happen with us is a pace setter to how it will have a place throughout the organization. If we immediately discount those who disagree with us publicly, it indicates a lack of interest in hearing those that may bring a perspective we need to hear…even if we don’t want to.

The next time someone disagrees with you, take a moment to pause and process rather than shooting back your bullets of opinion even if you are confident of being right. The more we embrace others challenging us, the more our employees will challenge each other which can only lead to a more successful business.

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