Napoleon Bonaparte

How do you lead disagreeable people?

disagagree without being disagreeableThere is a difference between being disagreeable and just disagreeing.

Honestly disagreeing is healthy and adds to the growth of a team. Being disagreeable causes strife and turns the team’s attention away from the issues and opportunities that need to be tackled and instead focuses on the actions of the disagreeable person. A leader must resolve this division before it goes too far. As Abraham Lincoln said, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”

Being disagreeable can take many forms: A disagreeable person can be critical, negative, and even passive aggressive – undermining the success of the team with their actions or lack of action.

“The people to fear are not those who disagree with you, but those who disagree with you and …don’t let you know.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

This may seem a bit odd, but The key to leading a disagreeable person, is to help them turn into a disagreeing person.

A disagreeing person is one who openly and professionally shares their opinion. They offer a dissenting view, alternate ways of achieving the goals, or even different goals entirely. They thrive in the challenging atmosphere of brainstorming sessions, continuous improvement, and strategic planning. Not every view of a disagreeing person is adopted, but many are.

Everyone wants to feel that their views are heard and taken into consideration. Everyone wants to be valued. The difference between being disagreeable and disagreeing is open communication.

Leaders therefore, need to offer an environment where the opinions of the disagreeable person are heard and acted upon based on their merit. They are more used to not sharing their views publically and acting upon them privately. You will now have to draw out their ideas into the open during meetings and brainstorming sessions and make a point to give them credit for sharing their disagreement and when their ideas are acted upon.

You will show the disagreeable person what disagreeing people have learned, “You can disagree without being disagreeable.”

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