Why the Best Entrepreneurs and CEOs Have Employees Who Disagree With Them
Employers’ desires and affinities had changed and evolved a lot throughout the years, making it challenging for their workers to keep up.
And while there are talks about their stubbornness when it comes to workplace organization, we believe their visions are worth it.
Entrepreneurs know how their companies should work and function and they are ready to take many risks in order to achieve the goals they’ve set up.
Some of them often give impossible tasks or request changes that are very hard or impossible to make. And when it comes to deadlines, nothing is too short, too hard or unachievable for a good and loyal worker.
There is no doubt that the conflict can’t be avoided. Employees lose patience once at a time since they can’t always meet the expectations, or they simply find the plan unfinished and dysfunctional. It’s guaranteed that employees will disagree in certain situations.
But as much as it seems bad, it can mean a world if a disagreement is expressed openly and productively. Most great leaders feel comfortable with employees who openly discuss the problems and reveal their true perspectives.
The unreal expectations bosses tend to have when they feel close to success mostly lead to another disappointment.
When their employees dare to challenge their stubbornness and question the solutions, there is more room for adjustments and improvements.
And in the case when both people disagree with each other’s plans or ideas, there must be a solution that satisfies both criteria.
CRITICAL THINKING IN OFFICE; PRO ET CONTRA
Dating from the time of Ancient Greece, as stated at Foundation for Critical Thinking, the concept of critical thinking is now highly valued among employers. It’s an innovative skill that helps solve problems as fast as possible.
And why is it so valuable?
It’s important because it not only helps people diagnose problems faster and more effectively but also helps to identify potential solutions that were not obvious at first.
The more solutions available, the better the result will be.
Yes, this skill can help resolve conflicts in the workplace, but they don’t give bad results in every situation.
Critical thinking encourages progress, meaning that, by triggering conflicts, it forces leaders to question their ideas and find the weak spots.
Otherwise, they’ll most probably end up unchecked and unsolved, threatening the business.
But to think critically, putting aside assumptions and judgments is crucial. It’s also necessary for being objective while analyzing the received information and evaluating others’ ideas.
Read more about why critical thinking skills are important in the workplace.
It’s sufficient to say that critical thinking tends to examine everything and put all the given assumptions to test.
As such it’s the basis of academic and scientific knowledge and you do want your team to be as educated as it gets because the more developed people are intellectually, the more they’ll strive to progress and achieve it.
However, critical thinking doesn’t really scream discipline. In order to be effective, you want your team to form a certain hierarchy where the team follows the lead of the manager.
Not everyone can lead so the arrogance of critical thinkers may threaten to jeopardize decision making processes and quick and effective moves that you want your company to make.
WHAT BOSSES THINK
It is quite certain that bosses got their position after years of experience, hard-working and training. In other words, they earned it somehow.
But the fact that they are professionals in the particular area of expertise doesn’t always match the image their employees have of them.
Sometimes they’ll seem as they’re missing the point and they’ll need someone to help them focus on what’s important.
In cases when employees don’t prefer the boss’s idea, they fear showing that they disagree since they’ll most probably end up being fired. But how true is this really?
Most employers confessed that they are looking for job candidates who can use logical thought to evaluate a situation and offer the best solutions for the given issues.
That won’t happen if workers only nod their heads and get back to their daily routine.
Even more, the most common complaint CEOs, managers and employers make is that they don’t get enough feedback from their employees.
They believe that people are hired for a reason and that they should not only do their basic job but also be there for others who need an extra opinion.
Keeping feedbacks and complaints secret isn’t helping anyone. Employers like to know what their workers think of their projects and if there is any room for a change at all.
It’s a good chance to look useful and thoughtful, but not to overdo it. Nobody should look as they know it all.
Most employers don’t look for workers who never speak up, have a solution and give a contribution to the community.
However, they need people who will support their plans and go along with them even if they don’t approve of them.
But there is a thin line between obedient robots and supportive colleagues. It’s obvious which one boss appreciates more.
On the other hand, there’s a thin line between constructive disagreement and motivation-killing nagging all the time so be careful not to exaggerate on the other end.
Bosses don’t want “yesmen” and conformists, but they don’t want employers who argue for the sake of argument alone either.
Before we rush to make a complaint, we should put ourselves in their shoes for a moment. It’s easier for a boss to listen to new ideas when people first consider why he made his in the first place.
Disagreeing is the easy part, but finding and offering a better solution is the harder one.
This means that bosses do appreciate constructive criticism but don’t like being attacked for every detail they’ve missed.
What they like the most is having employees who show up with the problems and solutions which directly apply to their jobs. They shouldn’t wait to be asked for an opinion since they’ll never be.
Employer showing the qualities of a potential leader will know how to assert his/her opinion and what’s more, he/she will have an opinion in the first place which testifies for their devotion to the company’s goals.
Most bosses will still stand by their decisions but will appreciate hearing from the workers – it makes it easier for them to make decisions next time and consider how others feel about it.
Also, remember that everyone has something they would do quite different if they had a chance to lead a group.
This is why bosses need their workers’ thoughts – there is no person on Earth who knows it all.
Their feedbacks are very useful for further plans and business progress, but also for healthier relationships between all parts of the community.
BENEFITS OF A DISAGREEMENT
Whether it’s disagreement between colleagues with different personalities or between employees and employers, they are all useful when it comes to effective communication.
Conflicts can even be a center of the overall team productivity. How?
It’s not the conflict that directly makes benefits – it’s knowing how to deal with it.
When conflict shows up, the key step to reach its benefits is learning how to engage with it effectively.
A healthy choice when disagreements between employees and employers occur is compromising.
This is basically what keeps that professional relationship stable and strong, how employees get along with people who complain about everything.
It’s very likely that both sides have good arguments and interesting ideas, so why not use them both?
Employers know that this trick can retain people’s trust and loyalty, which is crucial in case the employee is too valuable to lose.
They even suggest workers that they could work together on fixing an issue.
Even if their ideas were bad for the project, they get offered to come up with an alternative solution – just as a second chance.
For effective deal, employers use assertion combined with collaboration or compromise, leading to constructive engagement over the disagreement.
They let their workers feel free by letting them share their ideas with others or react to other people’s ones. Moreover, they know the benefit of gaining a new perspective by hearing different voices and different opinions.
Here are some more benefits of having employees who are not afraid to step aside and speak up for their own ideas:
Conflicts help solve previous problems that were well hidden for a while.
Fights over small details can reveal much larger problems that were lying underneath all along. If it seems trivial, it is probably not.
Thoughtful and careful leaders can find the patterns in the workplace and work on fixing issues long before the main conflict disrupts everything.
Similar to that, conflicts can point out parts that needed improvements.
Conflicts help solve problems better.
Only healthy and open discussions can involve varieties of perspectives that allow different ideas to flow and find their way to the top.
When someone disagrees with our suggestions, it challenges our patience. Sometimes, it’s not worth the fight.
Different viewpoints are healthy for constant growth triggered by the changes.
The change is positive unless there are a few voices that dominate fights and always end up winning. That’s the smallest opportunity to express the original point of view.
If workers learn how to engage with different types of conflicts, then disagreements are accepted in a constructive way.
When everyone feels free to express their own views, there are more different ideas to work with and create a workable solution for a problem.
Moreover, conflict engagement is described as a crucial skill for workers who seek training in any area, because it gives better chances for advancement and progress within the company.
The relationships are being easily harmed by big and small conflicts, spoken and silent, denied, avoided and unconscious.
And they happen because every person has their own picture of the others and see things from their unique perspective.
In the working areas, it is considered better and more comfortable to have different views, that influence on the strengthening of the system relationships and interpersonal respect.
The organization should then benefit from healthy dialogues and expressed opinions.
As in any other process or activity, putting the time and energy to recognize the conflict and appropriate react is needed, as well as to be aware of various kinds of conflicts at workplace.
The management should influence workers to be conscious, help them focus on their jobs only and ignore the tensions and their effects in the office.
It all depends on the engagement and the occupation that workers decide to pursue.
However, the most functional teams are usually made of two types of workers. The first group is allowed to keep the focus on the risks and potential negative outcomes.
As a counterweight, all others work on bringing changes and innovations with their creativity. The combination leads to naturally balanced and effective conflict engagement.
Besides, every negative situation brings a lesson. It not only teaches us how these uncomfortable situations affect our further thinking and looking forward, but also helps learn more about ourselves and others.
Also, we learn how we react in those very bad situations, different approaches, and opinions on the workplace, finding the best from difficult disagreements.
We can test ourselves at managing heated discussions or situations when we’re confronted by strong criticism.
COMPANIES THAT EARNED FROM DISAGREEMENTS
For a better understanding of wealth handling in conflict situations, it is recommended to take a look at the best practice in the world (how some organizations solve the problem, and how they inspire other businesses to handle office problems better because of their innovative conflict management skills).
In the Assurance company, every manager believes that successful conflict management starts with him. They understand that facing the conflict creates healthy discussion around various viewpoints and helps maintain employees’ trust and loyalty.
In the Wrike company, the leaders believe that they should be the initiators of conflict resolving by giving more attention to their employees when they want to speak about the issue.
“Listening and acting makes leaders more effective instead of forcing employees to argue among themselves.”
In TH Consulting & design, the leaders faced the problem of huge differences between cultures, which isolated employees and helped conflicts to rise. They started a cultural competency training for all of them by giving them time to have meaningful conversations.
In Nimble, managers explained how 84% of their employees have experienced harshness and vulgarity in the office. Not only their fear of offending someone stopped them from finding a solution, but also the management limitations.
In Central Insurance company, leaders believe that every person face problems. However, all of us are somehow guilty when it comes to negative assumptions about others. They found a solution by taking time to understand the real picture of the situation and prevent potential conflicts.
Some popular examples where conflicts made the benefits:
Aventr used software tools for specialization in employee engagement in order to create a healthy and comfortable work environment for all of their employees. Also, employees were warn against making generalizations against their co-workers from different teams.
“We usually tend to believe [generalizations] once enough people say them, thereby participating in the collective misinformation of the masses,” advisor and Aventr blog editor James Marshall wrote once: “They often come supercharged with unnecessary negativity that sends moods soaring south.”
They explain how small complaints like “We work much longer than the other department” usually leads to distrust, low morale, and huge emotional confrontations if it occurs many times.
Profit Builder Keith Rosen, the CEO of Profit Builders, is working on improving processes of top sales in organizations. In case someone from the office threatens to ruin morale, managers have two options: facing the potential conflict bravely or step aside and let it happen.
“Managers and salespeople continually are ready the fight or argue when faced with conflict or challenging situations,” Rosen wrote for the Salesforce blog. “Most people approach these conversations like a charging rhinoceros or, conversely, stick your head in the sand and avoid them, hoping these problems magically disappear.”
Rosen is trying to help people identify their position in their group so they can blend in better and have more peaceful office environment.
Communicaid managers are working on improving communications between different cultures that appear in their company. Still, they are not absolutely safe from the breakdowns. They understand that conflicts are integral part of every workplace.
“We can either live with it, ignore it or deal with it,” says Declan Mulkeen, the company’s then-marketing director. “Managing conflict is a key skill for effective management and can make the difference between a successful or unsuccessful manager.”
Mulkeen gives some advice for dealing with conflict as a leader:
- Recognize the conflict because it won’t resolve itself.
- Don’t choose favorites among employees.
- Make a clear code of conduct that employees can follow.
- Know when to be firm and when to hold back.
He adds that these steps take practice even for more experienced managers and organizations.
It’s interesting that there are some specific sorts of conflict in your company. For example, managers at Shushnote found out that there is a rift between marketers and developers which is always present and they can’t get rid of it.
“The Wavelength Conflict Theory: A marketer and a programmer do not think on the same wavelength,” they write. “Conflict can arise due to the different ways that programmers and marketers think.”
The first and key step to fixing issues and preventing the future ones is understanding why conflicts occur as often as they do in the organization.
The employees at CX-Ray believe in solving conflicts quickly when they arise. Instead of waffling between the he-said, she-said elements, they work to find the right solutions to make both sides satisfied.
“Practice clear communication, and focus on actionable solutions,” product owner and project manager Gabor Bauer writes. “When a conflict arises, deal with it immediately and resist the temptation to ignore it.”
The longer a conflict goes unaddressed, the more time it has to turn into a huge and threatening problem and permanent rift between workers.
Companies mostly operate better when their CEOs and leaders recruit people who bring the change into the system by disagreeing when necessary.
They often look for someone different, with a specific way of thinking, a problem solver, especially when they don’t possess the mentioned skills themselves. Also it’s about having the right entrepreneurial mindset.
Dissenting employees can point out the issues, raise concerns and offer solutions for problems your organization might be dealing with.
If not, at least they can make you spend more time working on improvements and researching before you reach a final step. This prevents wasting time and money on fixing problems that could be avoided.
However, if the issue is not of greatest importance, you’ll at least know who is ready to put his career at risk by pointing out the holes in the plan’s functionality. These people will always act in crucial situations, helping the business grow and strengthen.
Disagreements are basically unavoidable, but their effect on the whole organization depends only on one leader’s willingness to hear every voice and consider them helpful.
Only if a manager has disagreements with an employee that is not resolved to benefit one of them, their professional relationship weakens.
Not only that the strained relationships decrease the productivity of the employee, but his co-workers can feel the tension as well, making everyone feel uncomfortable at work.
The main job for entrepreneurs is creating a healthy environment that allows for constructive and helpful disagreements. The trick is to keep the leadership or at least respect and reputation of the employees. There are some strategies we’ve listed:
The first one is hiring experts with a skill of critical thinking.
The goal is to build a team full of professionals who know what they’re doing but are also capable of making thoughtful counterarguments. They should be able to solve the dilemma in their area of expertise.
The next one is giving employees conversational space whenever is possible since they need it to express their ideas and options.
The bold ones always get out of their comfort zone and dare to voice their thoughts, but asking them for the individual opinions will make it more likely to get the feedback.
And speaking of the consequences, the negative ones should be decreased to the minimum.
The workers are more interested in representing their solutions in the future if you introduce some kind of negative consequence into the discussion.
However, those who cross the line should not be embarrassed and undermined in front of the others.
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