5 Ways to Find Vitality in Disagreement

Giving solutions, without exploring issues, lets people know you aren’t listening.

Solutions found in isolation are irritations to others.

the burden of a closed mind is knowing what others should do

3 ways to let others know you aren’t listening:

#1. Focus on positions. Defensive conversations are either/or exchanges with winners and losers. 

Defensive leaders look to win arguments by convincing others they’re wrong.

#2. Don’t explore assumptions behind positions. Why bother exploring an issue when you’re right?

The burden of a closed mind is knowing what others should do before they know.

#3. Tell others what they think. 

I hate when I let myself get dragged into adversarial conversations. I end up telling people what they think, rather than asking them what they’re trying to achieve.  

Explore issues before sharing solutions, even when you have the answer.

5 ways to find vitality in disagreement:

#1. Build relations that thrive in disagreement. Have the best interests of others at heart.

Sometimes the real issue is the relationship.

#2. Affirm the value of disagreement.

Disaster awaits when we always agree with each other.

Vitality is born in healthy disagreement and constructive dissent. 

Creative thinking begins with disagreement. Eric Hoffer said, “The beginning of thought is in disagreement – not only with others but also with ourselves.”

#3. Focus on mission – clarify goals. Arguments apart from clear goals are wildfires. What are we trying to achieve? What greater good is motivating us?

#4. Be proactive. Don’t wait for issues to come to you. Go to them. What’s not working for you? 

Avoiding disagreements is more perilous than addressing them.

#5. Focus on behaviors.

Objectives are useless apart from actionable behaviors. How will you move forward?

  1. How do you think others should change?
  2. How might you need to change?
  3. What behaviors move us toward our objectives?
  4. What would it look like, if you saw what you wanted in action?

The sparks of disagreement – handled well – ignite vitality.

How might leaders maximize the value of disagreement?

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