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How to Turn Disagreement Into a Team Strength - Ambition & Balance

https://doist.com/blog/how-to-turn-disagreement-into-a-team-strength/

doist.com

How to Turn Disagreement Into a Team Strength - Ambition & Balance
If you've ever worked closely with someone else in a work environment (so pretty much everyone), you've had a disagreement. Maybe you didn't agree with the current approach for tackling a project, or you weren't quite sold on the marketing of a new product.

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The art of disagreement

Mastering the art of considerate disagreement means expressing your beliefs without shutting down the discussion or angering the other side.

For this to happen, you have to listen more, be willing to change your perspective on disagreement and learn to better your arguments.

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Ed Catmull

“You are not your idea, and if you identify too closely with your ideas, you will take offense when they are challenged.”

Ed Catmull

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Ray Dalio
“I’ve seen people who agree on the major issues waste hours arguing over details. It’s more important to do the big things well than the small perfectly.”

Ray Dalio

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Charlie Munger

“I never allow myself to have an opinion on anything that I don’t know the other side’s argument better than they do.”

Charlie Munger

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Escape your own bias

Take the time to gather facts that support the opposite point of view.

Ask yourself, “What if I’m wrong?”. This will strengthen your argument by anticipating questions, or you’re going to learn something new and take a more nuanced position.

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Listening to the other side

We tend to focus on what we're going to say next in conversation and we fail to understand the counterargument and really listen to the other party.

Demonstrate that you're listening by reframing their position in your words and then ask for confirmation that you have it right.

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Present your ideas inclusively

Disagreements can create an “us versus them” mentality with clear winners and losers.

A better approach is to ditch the entire notion of winners and losers. Instead, you’re both on the same team working toward a better solution

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Disagreement is healthy

It is essential for success. It’s the hallmark of an engaged and involved team member. And it opens the way for testing and improving new ideas.

It should also be treated as a chance to built trust and show mutual understanding.

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Seek to understand

People tend to disagree when they don't understand each other. That does not mean you have to agree, just that you're open to hearing them out.

When you come to an understanding t...

Look beyond your own triggers

Whatever may have happened in your past, you have to find a way to get past your triggers and see that you're in a new situation with a person who doesn't mean you harm. What's triggered is usually fear and awareness of one's limitations.

Look for similarities, not differences

Look for common ground. When you concentrate on differences the space grows wider, but when you seek out what you have in common it helps bridge the gap.

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Benefits of workplace collaboration

Employees can share resources, swap perspectives, and boost each other’s creativity.

Collaboration allows us to capitalize on the collective knowledge and expertise of our people, whil...

Downsides of collaboration

Collaborations can be unproductive, time-wasting, and a strain on top employees.

Collaborative organizational structure can drain people’s time and resources, wherein employees are “emailed to death and meetinged to death."

For effective collaboration...

... (or delegation), it helps to know where everyone’s expertise lies. 

Make sure your employees get to know each other, whether that happens through group lunches, coffee breaks, or informal social events. This also builds trust — a vital element for successful collaboration.

Be realistic about the risks

Our natural bias is to start by imagining all the things that will go horribly wrong if we disagree with someone more powerful. Yes, your counterpart might be a little upset at first, but most like...

Decide whether to wait

You may decide to hold off voicing your opinion if you want to gather your army first. People can contribute experience or information to your thinking — all the things that would make the disagreement stronger or more valid. 

Also, delay the conversation if you’re in a meeting or other public space. Discussing the issue in private will make the powerful person feel less threatened.

Identify a shared goal

Before you share your thoughts, think about what the powerful person cares about. You’re more likely to be heard if you can connect your disagreement to a “higher purpose.” 

State it overtly then, contextualizing your statements so that you’re seen not as a disagreeable underling but as a colleague who’s trying to advance a shared goal.