The Rarity of Healthy Disagreement

Healthy disagreement is an important part of any work or personal relationship. And yet, it’s much rarer than you think.

Disagreement often has negative connotations but in fact it’s entirely natural for people to have different perspectives and opinions, and the ability to disagree well is key to resolving conflicts and finding common ground.

One of the most important principles of healthy disagreement is our principle of ‘debating the idea, not the person’. When we engage in a discussion or debate it’s important to focus on the idea being presented rather than attacking or criticising the person presenting them. It’s important to be able to separate the two, to reach the best decision or outcome.  

‘Debate the idea, not the person sharing it’

Instead, we should focus on the merits of the debate itself. This means being curious and listening carefully to what the other person is saying – not something that’s always easy.  Start with asking questions to clarify & understand their position first, then present your perspective clearly and calmly.  Even if we don’t agree with someone else’s position, we can still respect them as a person and engage in a productive disagreement! 

Another important aspect of healthy disagreement is the ability to recognise and address our own biases and assumptions.

We all have our own experiences, beliefs and values that shape how we see the world. It’s important to be aware of these biases and to own how they show up in any disagreement.  By actively engaging with different perspectives and viewpoints we broaden our understanding of the world.

Finally, disagreeing well is about being willing to look for and find common ground.  Broadening our understanding of a situation may mean that whilst we don’t always fully agree with the other person we can find ways to work together and find solutions that meet everyone’s needs.  The very act of engaging with healthy disagreement brings  clarity to where we agree and where we may need to work harder to find a middle ground. 

That clarity creates an opportunity for progress and all progress begins with a BRAVE decision. 

You can learn more about BRAVE, our principles and how we can help healthy disagreement prosper in your business by getting in touch today.

Rhi x

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