Expressing Disagreement Constructively
How To Be More Assertive: Part 6
When you disagree with someone, it is often best to be direct and clear, as it avoids an unfortunate misunderstanding. Eg: when someone disagrees they often go quiet; yet silence is often interpreted by others as agreement. Hence, there is a miscommunication.
Disagreement can sometimes feel confrontational, so the assertive approach is to express disagreement in a constructive manner. This involves stating the disagreement clearly, but then following up immediately with one of the following:
- a proposed alternative
"No I can't take you to the airport. John may know of someone else going to the airport this afternoon - try asking him."
- asking the other person to think of an alternative
"No, I can't take you to the airport. Who else could you ask'"
- stating where you agree
"I don't think that idea will work, but I do agree that something needs to be done about it, and we've got to find a solution"
Expressing disagreement constructively can also help to overcome the "Apollo Syndrome", a phenomenon whereby highly intelligent individuals perform badly as a team. The reason is that they keep focusing on disagreements, so spend their time in arguments that go round in circles.
How To Be More Assertive:
Part 7: Manage the other person's behaviour, by enforcing a process