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The most engaging, productive and effective leaders recognize that there will be times when they may tend towards a wrong decision – and that’s why they value the input and advice of their best people, whether that advice is contrary to their own opinions or not.

Leaders - Look for Disagreement

Unless your people can express opinions contrary to yours, or those of other more assertive or senior members of the group, without fear of any negative consequences, then the most assertive and loudest voices will always have their say – and valuable input will be lost.

Here are six simple ways to keep your environment open and positive…

6 guidelines for creating an open environment:

  1. Make a point of having no ‘sacred cows’ – anyone should be able to express their opinion or raise their concerns on ANY issue without worrying that there may be consequences.  Create a safe environment for open and frank exchanges.
  2. Provide opportunities to vent. Make sure that you provide regular opportunities for your people to share their ideas or even vent their frustration and concerns in either one-on-one or group sessions.
  3. Make it clear that you value straight-talking input and feedback and that you expect it from everyone. Encourage straight talking and be prepared to accept that you will sometimes hear things that you wish you hadn’t.
  4. Resist the all too normal reflex to defend your ideas before you’ve heard someone on their contrary viewpoint – be prepared to accept criticism and contrary opinions and to weigh them for their genuine value.
  5. Work on losing all ability to take offence when someone disagrees with you or offers a contrary point of view.  It’s hard to disagree with the ‘boss’ and when people do so it is usually because they feel strongly about the issue at hand.  It’s hardly ever personal.
  6. Disagree if you must do so – but do so agreeably.  If you must disagree with someone do so in a manner that ensures they feel able to disagree provide future input – even if there’s a danger you might not agree with their point of view.

If you don’t have some people who, at least occasionally, have better ideas than yours then there’s something wrong with your hiring strategy.  Keep your mind and environment open to positive critique and get the best possible from those people.

How do you go about disagreeing with the boss?

Use ‘Comments’ below to share your best ideas


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