"I Disagree" Is Not An Option

Have you ever felt like you’re playing charades so that someone will understand what you’re trying to say? You try to get your opinion in the conversation, but their interest is little to none. Maybe they understand what you’re saying, but they just don’t care…

It’s easy to ask ourselves these following questions and blow-up the situation in our mind:

1. Do they ever listen?

2. Do they care about what I am trying to say?

3. Am I speaking another language?

4. Am I talking to a wall?

However the situation is bubbling over in your mind, the point is that they might not be the problem. It’s you. Let’s look at some reasons they might be uninterested:

1. Jumping in on their conversation and immediately saying “I disagree.” This can shoot them down faster than a man on the front line. Saying they are wrong will immediately turn people off to you and your opinions, which will stop any further interaction you were planning.

2. Saying their opinion is “rubbish,” “ridiculous” or “stupid.” Making people feel worthless doesn’t earn you a good reputation. Respectfully listening and waiting for them to ask your opinion will build trust. Never damage someone else’s self-worth by calling their opinions second-rate.

3. Giving off the vibes that you are somewhat better and that your opinion is the only “right” one. Life isn’t about being right. It’s about learning and growing with those around you.

Whatever your reasoning for thinking it was okay to say these things, it obviously didn’t earn you the right to be heard, either. In our efforts to make our point be heard, we crush those around us, and flatten their egos and self-worth.  The point is not to come out on top or be number one in the office. What matters is learning from each other and building a comfortable environment for everyone to grow.

Next time you find yourself in conversation, fully hear out the other person. Avoid using demeaning phrases that can bring someone back to the days where the teacher marked a big red “F” on your paper for everyone to see. It’s humiliating. Be polite and use a happier color! As a manager or team leader, it’s your job to make your employees feel heard, appreciated and that their opinions are vital to the team.

It’s time to step up and change the conversation.