Thursday, 23 May 2013

"I don't agree " !


Three words . 

But very very powerful ... "I don't agree" !

How you react to the above sentence tells a lot about your leadership style

Let me give you an example.  In one of my teams, whenever I was about to sign off on a meeting after making some decision, this person in my team raised his hand and said "I don't agree with you ... have you thought about this aspect ? " , and then he usually went on to give a very different perspective.  Let me confess, sometimes it was really very frustrating.  At the face of it,  it seemed that he was forever contradicting me , but when I got used to his style, I realized how valuable this person was , and how lucky I was to have him in my team.  

When you are in a position of authority, it is very easy for people in your team to agree with whatever you decide. There are very few people who think without any bias and speak out fearlessly. As leaders, we should cultivate this atmosphere of openness where everybody thinks independently and creatively. In my own experience, I have found that these contradictory thoughts have made my mind and thoughts proliferate and my perspective became broader.  Not only in technical decisions but this helps in any decision making. 

But sadly,  I have seen many situations where the dissenting voice gets stifled when it is not well received.  It is sad since many good ideas or mediocre decisions cannot really reach the level of excellence because of lack of open discussions and contradictory opinions. 

It really depends upon the leadership style how we can utilize a person saying "I don't  agree "  by listening to him.  And if his point of view  is valid, give a real and honest thought to it and if it makes sense, amend your decision without letting your ego coming in between !  Again , if  after giving him your ears, you think that his opinion is not valid for the situation,  thank him for voicing his thoughts but go ahead what your original decision was.

This shows the leader's humility and integrity . And it earns respect !

So , the next time when you hear "I don't agree", welcome the three words and thank your lucky stars that you have a voice in your team who will help you grow even further !

11 comments:

  1. very relevant.we need devil's advocate in teams for good reasons.We must not let our ego lead us to squander a valuable opportunIty of gettIng another perspectIve.

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    1. Moon, Yes, ego is the main problem ...

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  2. Bearing in mind we all have different reactions to this comment, even more empowering to all is to develop a climate where people say 'I wonder whether there might be an alternative perspective' and then put it. As leaders we may be able to make the most of the 'I don't agree' statement. There will be others in the team who find it difficult to cope with. Helping others to communicate in a way that can be heard is also a useful skill in leadership.

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    1. Yes, leaders should develop such "climate" in their teams

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  3. One way to foster more openness is to use "here is what I like about what you just said/decided........ and here is what concerns me about it."

    As more people adopt this more honest form of confrontation trust can grow.......

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  4. I have 2 comments on this excellent topic.
    1. If you and I always agree then one of us is redundant.
    2. I get really annoyed with people who disagree, presenting half baked opinions not based on their own knowledge or experience, or change their minds with the wind and then deny that they ever disagreed. I want people who disagree because they have experience or knowledge to back it up:)

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  5. Dear Ananya,
    This post was translated and posted on http://www.ecoblader.com/2013/06/toi-khong-dong-y/.
    Thank you and best regards!

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  6. Julie Wacker2 July 2013 01:50

    As a "non-generally-agreeing person I totally agree, that it can be helpful to have someone who doesn't agree in your team but unfortunately you will only hear these words if the leader is a woman... I have never heard these words confronting a man - do you agree?

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    1. Julie, well, what you said can be partially correct, but as a woman , there have been several times that I have said these three words to a male :-) . On the other hand, I would say that it is good that people say "I don't agree" to women leaders more often , maybe because females are in general more empathetic and that gives them a better chance to hear disparate view ! What do you think ?

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  7. Julie Wacker2 July 2013 18:08

    I depends on how "not to agree" is communicated. But generally speaking I think you are right with women as being more empathetic towards different views. Is it a matter of education or upbringing that women are more interested in consents and therefore better listening to others?

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