How Leaders Can Create a Safe Space for Disagreement
Leaders must create good conversations around difficult conversations
I really enjoyed doing the podcast interview “How Can We Fix All the Conflicts at Work?” recently with R.J. Singh of Ultrahabits. We had a meaty discussion about how to share new ideas and manage differences of opinion without fearing retribution or venturing into personal attacks. R.J. really dug in with me, as he does with all his guests: He wants to know why you think what you think and what experiences have formed your values.
I think it’s pretty obvious that we all bring different skills, strengths and beliefs to whatever we do. Often we can learn more and find greater opportunity in our disagreements, discovering new ways to solve problems, strengthen proposals, and handle tough times together. R.J. asked me to explain how this could be done better or supported more.
We’re All Individuals with Habits
If you pay attention to every person—what they are like and what they need—you can work with them more successfully than if you take a single approach and expect everyone to respond in the same way. Our brains are inclined toward habits and patterned thinking. So, when we come into a meeting or enter a discussion, we often take and stick to a particular position about, say, how to plan for next year or improve a crucial project, rather than being completely open to others’ opinions and stances.
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