Want to know the tips on how to handle disagreements in meetings?

(Last time, Bob and I were talking about people being curious and not thinking of rebuttals and counterarguments while the person was speaking. Now, let’s dive back into our conversation.)

Me (Wendy): “When people disagree, it’s about our perspectives and the choices we make based on risk and other factors. In some cases, it might be hard to articulate exactly what we are trying to say. In these instances, I think it’s a good idea to let people know that we have the best intentions but may not necessarily be as articulate as we want to be when sharing our perspectives.”

Bob: “You’re referring to Dr. Edmondson’s points #5 and #6: 5) We don’t need to be articulate to express ourselves. 6) We acknowledge that there is often a gap between intention and impact. So, that’s where the caring part comes in. When we care about that person, we allow them to express themselves the way they do at that moment. They don’t have to be articulate to express themselves, and we keep an open mind and be curious to understand not only what they’re trying to say, but also what makes them say what they say, their perspectives and whatever influences them.”

Me: “Yes. And then, we can calmly discuss those points. Sometimes, their perspectives are right, and we are the ones missing something, and sometimes it’s vice versa. By being able to discuss calmly, we find out more.”

Bob: “Having each person share their perspective, especially when it is very different than yours, addresses Dr. Amy Edmondson’s 4th point – we express a diversity of opinions.”

Me: “That’s right. As Verna Myers said, “Diversity is being invited to the party. Inclusion is being asked to dance.” When we allow people to express opinions safely that others may not agree with, we are inviting them to the party, so to speak. But we can’t leave it there. The whole point of having these diverse opinions is to build something better. Most often, when people argue or disagree, people want to dominate and be right. That’s different from what we want to drive towards. It’s about finding a better and hopefully more holistic solution to the problem we are trying to solve. It’s not about who is right.”

Read Wendy’s entire story here

If you want to know more about how to apply psychological safety in your day-to-day work, check out the foundation of psychological safety.

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