2/15/06

AGREEING TO DISAGREE

Each one of us at sometime or the other when talking with colleagues or superiors has been caught in a situation where we are compelled to agree or disagree with a statement.

It’s a tricky situation, because, it has the potential of harming our future prospects in the organization.

If we agree to everything that’s said either we come across as a sycophant or worse a lightweight.

If we disagree to everything that’s being said either we come across as an argumentative character or worse as an arrogant person.

Now how do you come out unscathed from these kinds of situations?

There are only two situations here, either you can agree or disagree. We need to carefully position ourselves between these two extremes.

When we put forward our agreement or disagreement first separate the ego out of the argument. Your ego can be satisfied only when you can establish that you are right. Similarly his ego will not permit him to admit he is wrong.

So take your ego out of the argument and focus on what he is saying. Obviously both of you cannot be right all the time.

Comprehend his argument, there could be special circumstances behind these kind of statements; understand that then it’s very easy to be agreeable.

His values could be different from yours. And on that basis his statements can make sense to him. Agree with him that on the basis of his values what he says could be true.

Go beyond the generalizations, respect the special circumstances which he had to endure and understand his values.

Then it is easy to disagree agreeably with your colleague or your boss.

After all there is no point in winning the battle and loosing the war.