This post is the second post in a series on the challenges and opportunities that come from disagreement. The first post was titled, What if… YOU disagree with someone? –Do you lob word grenades, judge and flee, or engage and learn?
This post is a guest post from Dan Forbes and filled with additional feedback from people who attended the Lead with Giants Tweet Chat on this topic a week ago.
During the course of the chat we tweeted out 10 questions for participants to answer. Our audience included educators, coaches, consultants, business owners, and others who love the topic of leadership. It resulted in over 5 million tweet impressions.
Q1 – What if we disagree?
DAN: People disagree because they care. It’s the silent one’s you’ve got to watch out for. What if we reframed disagreement and considered it to be a door of opportunity?
@Minimologist So what? The more complicated the situation, the more potential right answers there are.
Q2 Why do we struggle to listen to and consider dissenting opinions?
DAN: We get addicted to being right. We love to win and it feels good. If we are not careful our desire to win will cause us to disregard the opinion of others. We stop listening.
@SyndIrvin: We are too busy focusing on why the other person think we are not right. The “It’s about me.”
@joychensf: Because we believe disagreeing = disrespect n dislike. That’s usually not the intention.
@TerriKlass: Listening to people disagree with us can feel uncomfortable. We need to work hard to be open.
Q3 When is it important to consider a dissenting opinion?
DAN: It’s always important. Even more so when the stakes are high. Otherwise we fall into group-think and lose our innovative and creative edge.
@humanperspectiv: When the risks are high. Sometimes the devil’s advocate is an angel in disguise.
@TranslationLady: When you want to come up with the best solution you should listen to dissenting opinions.
@PPW78 When u want to understand all aspects of a problem u need to consider different perspectives
Q4 When is it important to offer a dissenting opinion?
DAN: When you believe that you have something valuable to say….say it. Say it respectfully and say it with caring, courage, and candor.
Q5 What specific behaviors and actions shut down productive dialogs?
DAN: One way we shut down great conversations is when we interrupt others and cut them off. Do it once and you may be excused. Do it repeatedly and that person will never speak up again.
@PanteliT: “A great many people think they are thinking when they are really rearranging their prejudices.” ~ Ed Murrow
Q6 How does open and candid dialog impact problem solving?
DAN: As a Coach and researcher in the discipline of Conversational Intelligence® I know the power of Level III Conversations. This is when we explore other’s perspectives, asking questions for which we have no answers, and listen to connect. This place of sharing and discovery helps us co-create new solutions.
@djgreer: You have to be open and candid if you want to get at the real issues. 2/3 of the battle is acknowledging the problem!
@Jyoung1219: Open & candid dialog fosters creative & unexpected problem solving, prototypes, & solutions.
Q7 Do YOU seek to dialog with people who disagree with you? REALLY? Why?
DAN: No, I don’t seek it out, but I welcome disagreement. I see it as an opportunity to move into sharing and discovery.
@AskWhatNext: I try especially around politics but that often devolves. Honest debate is invigorating.
@tomj_rhodes: Yes….I am not always right, I still have much to learn. I can’t do that by shutting my ears.
@GianaConsulting: Yes!!! I want to see more win/win solutions in our world and less trampling of each other.
Q8 Why are we less willing to consider the opinions of other’s, than we are to share our own?
DAN: Because we are human and hard-wired to protect ourselves. Not only that, but every time we “win a point” we receive a Dopamine hit in the brain. It feels good.
Q9 What have you learned from considering another perspective?
DAN: I’ve learned that others often have better ideas than me. Shocker, huh? Just listening to others’ perspectives helps enlarge my own.
CHERY: I’ve heard personal stories, that helped me see/feel the reasons for the dissenting opinion. Those stories helped me judge less, and mine deeper for win/win solutions.
@humanperspectiv: Even when we think we are unbiased, other can make us aware of new perspectives. Continuous learning
Q10 How can we leverage different opinions to come up with better solutions?
DAN: We can do that by creating space and a safe environment for everyone’s voice to be heard.