Sunday, April 25, 2010
Disagreement Is a Gift
The best place to practice this is in a group with a common mission or goal. This could be some organization you belong to, your church, or your work. Whenever a group gets together, there are going to be differences of opinion because there are going to be differences of experience. And that’s a good thing.
But, how are those disagreements handled? Do you openly talk and discuss your differences with respect? Are you willing to put yourself in the other person’s shoes and see from their perspective? Can you compromise or negotiate? In some situations, when there is a hierarchy and members of the group have seen or perceived that if they disagree with the person in charge, they are put aside or worse, fired, they learn to not voice their disagreements. So, what happens to those disagreements? They don’t go away. They fester and grow into resentments, a counter culture of passive or sometimes not-so-passive resistance which will definitely affect morale and work. Everyone loses when disagreements are not handled with a positive and cooperative attitude.
I’d like to go a bit further and say that disagreements should not only be handled positively, but sought after systematically. Disagreements can be the source of new ideas, innovations, creativity, and expansion. Only after we have seen something from all possible angles can we then add to or truly improve it and in that way, a disagreement is a good thing.
1) What was the last issue that caused you hurt feelings or got you mad? What was the source of the problem?
2) How did you handle it?
3) How would you have liked to have handled it?
4) What might you try next time something like it happens again?