Ways to distinguish yourself – #101 Master the art of handling disagreements

Ways to distinguish yourself – #101 Master the art of handling disagreements

By Rajesh Setty on Sun 22 Jan 2006, 11:58 PM – Leave Comment

Albert Einstein said it beautifully – “It is the mark of an educated man to entertain a thought without accepting it”

Easier said than practiced. Think about it – Wouldn’t it be interesting if everyone always accepted everything that you said. No exceptions. For one it would be scary, unbelievable and boring. In any relationships, one thing is guaranteed – there will be times (lots of them) when the two parties will disagree on something. When I mean relationships – I mean any kind of relationships. Disagreements on their own may not be a problem. If you don’t know how to handle them, that might lead to multiple breakdowns in your life.

conflict resolution is a big topic on its own. My goal is not to summarize the art of handling disagreements or managing conflicts but merely to raise your awareness for the need to give this topic the importance it truly deserves. Chances are that when you go to a bookstore you may not gravitate towards even flipping through the pages of a book on managing conflicts. You may think that there may not be much to learn about it or it’s all common-sense stuff. While no book may cover the exact situation that you are in, it is important to for you to understand the basics of handling disagreements. Once you graduate from there, you can go towards learning the fundamentals of effectively negotiating on anything.

Think about your own life last week. Let me help you with a few questions:

1. How many times did someone disagree with you on ANY topic?
   This is supposed to be a trick question. If you are in a power position, sometimes people may not voice their disagreement directly. If I rephrase this question, it would be something like “How many times did you feel that you did not get complete buy-in for your ideas?”

2. How many times did you get involved in a negotiation on something?
   If you had a discussion for more than five minutes on a particular course of action, you were involved in some form of negotiation.

3. What was the percentage of the above two cases in the grand scheme of things
   Let me give an example – If you discussed a total of ten ideas and six of them involved either a “lack of buy-in” or “some form of negotiation” or both, then the percentage is 60.

You will be amazed at what you will find out. Isn’t that a big enough motivator to start working on acquiring the skills required for handling disagreements and negotiating?

PS: Thanks to my friend Ravi Char (Musings on Information Security) for making me think through this topic.


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