There are different kinds of disagreements. We can disagree on values, which often leads to agreeing to disagree.
Sometimes, we disagree about goals. We can come to an agreement, but it can be a lengthy, in-depth process because it often involves a discussion of priorities and strategy.
We can agree on the goal, but not the process to achieve the goal. If we are willing to give up some control, then this type of disagreement can be relatively easy to resolve.
However, the easiest type of conflict to resolve is one based on fact. The challenge is that we often carry on as if what we are discussing is opinion. In any disagreement, a good question to ask is “Is that a fact?”
For example, once I asked my son to take the new registration and put it in his car. He insisted that he had a current registration in his car. Rather than arguing with him about it, I said, “Ok, let’s go look at it and see.”
It’s important when using this technique to avoid a sarcastic tone of voice. Hear that statement said in a pleasant and neutral tone of voice.
If you are proved correct, it’s best not to make any sort of “I told you so” comment or do a victory dance. As leaders, we are always working to create and maintain positive relationships, so we want to be right and wrong with some grace.
When you find yourself in a disagreement, ask yourself, “Is that a fact?” Can the point of contention be proven in some way? If it can, offer to research the point. Often, the other person loses interest when the argument becomes about fact rather than persuasion.
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