How To Have A Productive Disagreement For Good

How To Have A Productive Disagreement

How To Have A Productive Disagreement 2

Frequently, our personal credibility is put at risk when we disagree with someone. In this situation, to avoid relying on our position or status, remain transparent, and simultaneously suspend judgement can be difficult. When our human emotions enter the picture, we often feel the need to defend our beliefs and values. In consequence, we engage in an interaction that can damage the relationship. A damaged relationship, left without repair, cannot foster respect. To lose respect is to lose personal credibility. Else, productive disagreement helps us to improve our relationships and personal credibility, by steering us away from avoidance, aggressive verbal attacks and resentment. Hence, how to have a productive disagreement spotlights crucial.

How To Have A Productive Disagreement Shows Here

1. Find The Value In The Other Person’s Point Of View

To identify the value in the other person’s differing perspective, we need to listen and consider it. For want of nothing else, there is value in their having a different opinion. Using these phrases helps the parties involved in the disagreement to find common ground. “I can see that You believe…” or “I agree with Your thoughts on…”

2. Highlight Your Concerns

This is not about giving in and giving up. Taking this route creates no lasting result and sabotages your credibility. To give up and give in without truly meaning it, haves you losing self-respect and respect from others. Better, simply state your concerns in an objective manner. “What concerns me is…” The obstacle l see is…” Here, listing concerns, obstacles or barriers that might be in the way, gets you not to use the word disagree. On this, you get forward to other ideas of how to have a productive disagreement.

3. Explore Ways To Maintain The Value Of The Other’s Perspective While Eliminating Or Resolving Your Concerns

Genuinely respecting The other person’s perspective or at least their right to it, and addressing your own concerns, paves way to problem solving. This process involves both parties and is mutual. These phrases promote fruitful resolutions. “How can we get what you need, yet address my concerns?” What are your ideas for getting what you need, yet overcoming the obstacles I see?” If the other person is unable to offer suggestions at the moment, be prepared with a thought. You can say, “what if we…” and then complete the sentence in a way addressing the other person’s issue together with your concerns. Following on, you can suggest that both of you brainstorm ideas for doing that.

Practical Example Of How To Have A Productive Disagreement

Somewhat frustrated because his wife, Clara, frequently runs late, Sam went over the last incident. They agreed to meet at the theatre for a movie at 5.30pm. However, she arrived ten minutes late. Sam chose the productive disagreement route, to address the issue effectively.

Sam: Clara, is now alright to talk about something that is bothering me?

Clara: Yes, but please don’t press me about being late. I just couldn’t help it. Please be a little more flexible, not so time-sensitive.

Sam (identifies the value of Clara’s perspective): I know you don’t want to have an argument or debate about this. I want you to know that I don’t want to be inflexible.

Clara: That’s good to hear. Sometimes, you harp a lot about timeliness.

Sam (identifies his concerns): I don’t deny that (chuckles). I’m concerned we aren’t talking about something that could create some problems for us if we don’t agree on a mutual way to resolve it.

Clara: Alright. We can talk about it. I just couldn’t help what happened with being late today.

Sam: (continues identifying his concerns): I’m becoming more and more frustrated when you are late. You appear to be getting stressed out too.

Clara: Yes, I can see that you are frustrated, and you are definitely correct about my getting more stressed. I don’t want to be late, but unexpected things arise. Then, I really get stressed, as I know you are getting angry.

Sam (discusses ways to maintain the value of Clara’s perspective and resolve his concerns): How about we go over some ways that could reduce the stress you are dealing with, and also reduce my frustration when it causes us to be late.

Clara: Okay. I’m all for that. (This conversation can now move forward in a problem solving mode.)


We have a lot to lose if we don’t handle our disagreements well. How to have a productive disagreement revolves around this question. “How can I discuss what is happening in a way that has a productive outcome, not destructive. Having productive disagreements enhances our self-respect and the respect others have for us. Consequently, we increase personal credibility.

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