The power of constructive disagreement

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From Saving Your Team with Constructive Dissension

Disagreement is a precious resource in learning, judgment and decision-making. Often people avoid openly expressing disagreement in a fear of offending others or as the result of the peer or team pressure. That neglect of disagreement results in the failure to benefit from the constructive forces of disagreement, including:

1. Improved communication:

  • Clarification and greater understanding of ideas
  • Increased retention of relevant information
  • Increased use of critical thinking skills

From http://howtobeaspeaker.com

2. More productive teamwork:

  • Stimulation of interest and involvement
  • Stronger working relationships and cooperation
  • Increased interest and motivation for problem solving
  • Increased understanding of self and others
  • Increased group interaction, trust and cohesiveness
  • Enhanced awareness of problems in group functioning
  • Changes can be made before the group is impaired
  • Decreased tension, frustration
  • Higher levels of morale and satisfaction
  • Decreased likelihood of acting out negative feelings indirectly

From http://www.ummaland.com

3. Better Quality decisions and problem solutions:

  • More creative ideas
  • More decision alternatives
  • More time spent thinking through decisions

From http://leadershipforlearning.wordpress.com

Conflict is often the first step for getting rid of outdated procedures, revising regulations, changing organisational culture, fostering innovation and creativity. Addressing rather than suppressing conflict opens the lines of communication, gets people talking to each other (instead of about each other)  and makes people feel like they’re part of a team that cares. As a result, people learn how to work harmoniously, come up with creative solutions and reach outcomes that benefit everyone involved.

From http://www.joegerstandt.com

However many of us are programmed to avoid conflict or do not know how to handle disagreement in a constructive way. So we have quiet, reserved, polite workplaces, but there is a whole bunch of “stuff” simmering below the surface. We cannot be honest and disagree with each other. We sit around the conference table and nod our heads up and down, and then after the meeting we tell the truth to a smaller group of peers with whom we actually feel comfortable being honest.

From http://www.fundable.com

Below are some ideas to help your team learn to voice dissenting opinions and resolve disagreements in a constructive way:

  1. Raise awareness: Let members know that disagreement can be healthy and that the team encourages constructive tension. This will help set the stage and encourage more “voices” to come forward.
  2. Value listening: Draft listening as a core value of the team. Ultimately, we cannot learn from dissension if our hearts and minds are not really open to the conversation.
  3. Respect always rules: Constructive dissension boils down to team members offering respect to their colleagues. When this principle is ignored, any level of disagreement can quickly become unhealthy. If you have any sense of being on shaky ground after engaging in an intellectual battle with someone, patch that rift with kind words, support and willingness to listen. You may have to retreat for a while until things cool down, but you must let the other person know that you still respect and admire them.
  4. Encourage dissenting opinions: Teach team members how to disagree diplomatically. Many individuals may want to disagree, yet are not sure how to avoid “causing trouble”. Offer ways to speak up by suggesting healthy “templates” or a “scripts” to do so.
  5. Pose alternatives: If they find fault with an idea or strategy — be sure that team members attempt to offer an improved version or alternative solution. Constructive criticism is always preferred.
  6. Deal with dyad issues: If two members seem to be experiencing personal conflict, ensure this does not play out during team meetings. Encourage a dialogue to resolve core issues outside of the team and contain “toxic spills” rooted in personal issues.
  7. Focus on solutions, not the “win”: Ultimately, one single idea does not have to “win” — and this can help take the pressure out of collaboration. Masters of innovation such as Pixar, combine the ideas of many contributors to formulate solutions. In this way being honest and open, won’t take sway from another team member’s work.

 
From http://www.madofficehero.com

The same rules apply to handling disagreement within the family: never stop caring and listening no matter how angry you are.

Love is caring for each other even when you're angryFrom Pinterest

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Resources:

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Are You Micromanaging Your Teen?

From http://www.examiner.com

Do you find yourself micromanaging your teenager’s life? It goes something like this: “Did you take a shower?” “Did you study for your Spanish test?” “Have you figured out whether you’re going to the concert this weekend?” “Do I have to get the concert tickets for you?” “Shouldn’t you have left by now?”

When you have a deadline at work, who is responsible for meeting that deadline? When you have a meeting you need to attend, who is responsible for getting you to that meeting? How did you learn how to meet your deadlines and get to your meetings on time?

From http://news.byu.edu/

It is no different for our teenagers. If they don’t have a reminder to take a shower, they will get stinky and their friends will make fun of them. When that happens, chances are they won’t forget (or neglect out of spite) to take a shower again.

If your teenager doesn’t make the necessary phone calls she needs to make to see if everyone’s going to the concert over the weekend, she’ll probably end up sitting home bored to death while all of her friends are out having fun. Chances are, next time her friends start discussing an upcoming concert, she’ll be on top of the planning.

From http://www.lafayettecountyhealth.org

As Wendy Sheppard points out, a teenager’s job is to learn how to be independent – how to do things for himself. His job is to find the resources to figure things out if he can’t do it himself.

Our job is to support him through this process and help him with things he truly isn’t ready for.

Therefore, instead of hovering like a helicopter over your teen, try ‘submarine parenting’. As Todd Kestin explains, submarine parenting means staying out of sight under the surface letting the kids manage their lives as things come up. It’s keeping the proverbial periscope up, so parents are aware how things are going with their teens, how their decisions are turning out, and being available to step in as needed. By maintaining this stance in their teens’ lives, parents empower them to work their way out of problems, issues, decision-making, etc.

Make a periscopeFrom http://www.planet-science.com

Submarine parents practice “parenting with intention.” Purposely backing off but keeping a hidden eye on their kids’ progress. Purposely giving them the room they need to succeed and to fail and bounce back again.

So what are some ways to use “submarine parenting” with your own kids? Here are five ways to take action with your teen by parenting with intention:

1. Back off on purpose.

2. Let your teen make his own decisions.

3. Talk to your teen with respect,

4. Model healthy behavior for your teen to follow.

5. Let go of the power struggle.

 Be More Independent As a Teen Girl Step 1.jpgFrom http://www.wikihow.com

Lippincott and Deutsch, authors of 7 Things Your Teenager Won’t Tell You, urge parents to simplify their expectations into three “rules of play:”

1. Stay Safe
2. Show Respect
3. Keep in Touch

What happens in a teen’s life – from violating curfew to doing homework to confronting drugs and alcohol – can fall under the above-mentioned three “rules of play.


From http://studentcareercoach.wordpress.com

As Mike Duran points out, “Teenagers / Young Adults require CONSULTATION and ADVICE – This is the stage where our kids are (or should be) full-fledged managers of their own lives. By now, they should understand moral parameters and societal obligations. We respect their growing independence by posturing ourselves as consultants and advisers, not managers. As such, they are free to take or leave our advice. (Of course, this does not let them off the hook regarding behavior or responsibility, but it affirms their autonomy and our waning authority.)”


From http://www.southbaytreatment.com

And if you still find yourself micromanaging your teen, lighten up and get your own life 😉

From http://www.petebarrett.com

Resources:

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The power of storytelling in the world obsessed with data

“Stories tell us of what we already knew and forgot, and remind us of what we haven’t yet imagined.”

Anne Watson


Story
From Emotive Storytelling

For thousands years telling stories has been one of our most fundamental communication methods. The rise of big data however shifted focus on metrics undercutting the power of storytelling and leaving off the agenda those things that can not be measured. Is storytelling a dying art form then?

To answer that question, lets have a deeper look at data-driven decision making. Decision making is lying across a broad spectrum. At one end of that spectrum are operational decisions, which are generally highly structured, routine, short-term oriented and increasingly embodied in sophisticated software applications. At the other end of the spectrum are strategic decisions. These are usually taken by high levels of management as they set the long-term directions and policies of a business, government or other organizations. They tend to be complex, and unstructured because of the uncertainty and risks that generally accompany longer term decisions. In between are many kinds of decisions, including non-routine ones in response to new or unforeseen circumstances beyond the scope of operational processes, and tactical decisions dealing with the necessary adjustments required to implement longer term strategies.

Given their structured nature, data analysis have long been applied to automate routine, day-to-day operational decisions, such as logistics and inventory management, personalized marketing offers and recommendations, and fraud detection in financial transactions. Beyond automated operational decisions, however, there are many situations where data alone might not be enough. As an example, strategic decisions aimed at shaping the future by setting the long term directions and policies of an organization, often cannot be ferreted out from the available data. In complex matters, what begins to matter more than mere data is the ability to place these facts in context and to deliver them with emotional impact. When dealing with complexity, “narrative imagining” or storytelling can become a powerful instrument of thought as well as a key communication tool.

As cognitive scientist Mark Turner points out, “most of our experiences, our knowledge and our thinking is organized as stories”. Narrative helps us make sense of a world that is rapidly changing as it can be focused on the next generation of change, not just an extrapolation of the present. Stories fuel innovation. They hold the power to transform listeners; to take listeners on a journey that changes how they think, feel or act. Stories can elicit emotional connections that make them a very powerful persuasion tool. Studies also show that we are wired to remember stories much more than mere data, facts, and figures. While mere numbers and graphs often kill a presentation’s soul turning into an insomnia relief for the listeners, stories have the power of transforming presented data into knowledge eagerly absorbed by the audience.

Not surprisingly,  legendary vizier‘s daughter Scheherazade has chosen the power of storytelling  in an effort to save the lives of thousands of women. After 1,001 nights, having been made a wiser and kinder man by Scheherazade and her 1,000 tales, the king not only spared her life, but made her his queen.

scheherazadeFrom Scheherazade 

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