Digging into Disagreement

The good, the bad, the ugly... And the opportunity!


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.

Dan Forbes is a Certified Executive & Leadership Coach, Speaker, Facilitator, Workshop Leader, and founder of Lead With Giants, LLC. He helps individuals, teams, and companies elevate their Conversational Intelligence® (C-IQ®) to build trust, effectiveness, performance, and results.

Dan V. ForbesWhat If We Disagree? Seventy-five leaders gathered in the #LeadWithGiants tweet chat on Twitter to explore this topic. I’m the tweet chat host and Chery Gegelman was my guest host.

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.

@ccinspire13:  Build a diverse team. Create a safe environment. Don’t let one person dominate. Create expected decisions/outcomes.

You’re invited to join the #LeadWithGiants tweet chat every Monday at 7:00pm ET.  To learn more and follow Dan at LeadWithGiantsCoaching.com and LeadWithGiants.com



President, Giana Consulting

Chery Gegelman is an adventurer that loves to learn. ...Deep conversations, books, travel, and daily living are all food for growth.

As a speaker, facilitator and workshop leader she creates energizing environments that reflect God's grace, tear down walls, help people to consider new perspectives, and inspire change.

Chery is the Founder of Giana Consulting and Conversation Safari's, listed as a Great Leadership Speaker by Inc., writes a recognized leadership blog and has co-authored two leadership books.

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