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    Tips for Women Business Leaders to Disagree in a Positive Way

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    For women business leaders, understanding yourself is the key to evaluating how you will react in group situations where you may not agree with what you are hearing. I was recently challenged by someone who was not happy with an action that I had taken. My immediate reaction was to get into a defensive position by defending my actions. I came away from the encounter feeling insecure and angry. When I actually stopped to analyze what had taken place I realized that, firstly, I had not been approached with diplomacy and secondly, my reaction was emotional.

    This is what I should have done; listen, process and buy time by saying, “I hear you but I may not actually agree with you.” This would have taken me beyond emotion into a logical place where the issue may have been efficiently solved.

    Here are some positive ways to intentionally disagree, condensed from a Forbes blog:

    Share your knowledge so others benefit
    Speak up to share your knowledge and expertise, and don’t let the fears of disagreement stop you. Make yourself a part of the conversation. People want to hear what you have to say.

    Mirror the person who is disagreeing
    When the person who disagrees with you speaks, make sure to respond by repeating what he or she has said word for word. For example, “Correct me if I’m wrong, but what you are saying is…” Once they’re under the impression that others are listening to and understanding them, they are then able to listen more carefully to what you have to say.

    Validate the person who is disagreeing
    As you respond with a conflicting opinion; first explain to the person that you understand what he or she is saying with a phrase such as “It makes sense to me that.” It helps you understand more fully the point of view that is different from your own. And it lowers people’s defenses so that they are open to what you have to say.

    Be prepared for contrary viewpoints
    Before attending a meeting in which disagreement might occur, imagine some potential reasons why others might question your point of view. Then come up with sound and logical arguments to counter these viewpoints.

    I know that I have to intentionally disconnect my feelings in tense situations, but it is not always that easy. The ideas here can be used as your own personal exercise prior to meetings to help prepare for potential disagreements. What techniques do you use to diffuse disagreements?


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