Tag: Disagreeing Constructively

Sharing Your Opinion in a Team

Sharing Your Opinion in a Team

Sharing your opinion is an invitation for the rest of the team to share their opinion, setting the stage for an engaging discussion or debate. In this blog, we will discuss the skills you can use in sharing your opinion. Particularly, we will discuss how to use I-messages, disagree constructively, and build consensus.

Related: Communication Outcome Based Team Building Activities

Using I-Messages

An I-message is a message that is focused on the speaker. When you use I-messages, you take responsibility for your own feelings instead of accusing the other person of making you feel a certain way.  The opposite of an I-message is a You-message.

An I-message is composed of the following:

A description of the problem or issue

Describe the person’s behavior you are reacting to in an objective, non-blameful, and non-judgmental manner.  

“When … “

Describe the concrete or tangible effects of that behavior.

“The effects are … “

A suggestion for alternative behavior

“I’d prefer … “

Here is an example of an I-message:

“When I have to wait outside the office an extra hour because you didn’t inform me that you’d be late (problem/issue), I become agitated (effect). I prefer for you to send me a message if you will not be able to make it (alternative behavior).”

The most important feature of I-messages is that they are neutral. There is no effort to threaten, argue, or blame in these statements. You avoid making the other person defensive, as the essence of an I-message is “I have a problem” instead of “You have a problem”. The speaker simply makes statements and takes full responsibility for his/her feelings.

Disagreeing Constructively

There is nothing wrong with disagreement in a team. No two people are completely similar therefore it’s inevitable that they would disagree on at least one issue. There’s also nothing wrong in having a position and defending it.

To make the most of a disagreement, you have to keep it constructive. The following are some of the elements of a constructive disagreement:

Solution-focus. The disagreement aims to find a workable compromise at the end of the discussion.

Mutual Respect. Even if the two parties do not agree with one another, courtesy is always a priority.

Win-Win Solution.  Constructive disagreement is not geared towards getting the “one-up” on the other person.  The premium is always on finding a solution that has benefits for both parties.          

Reasonable Concessions.  More often than not, a win-win solution means you won’t get your way completely. Some degree of sacrifice is necessary to meet the other person halfway. In constructive disagreement, parties are open to making reasonable concessions for the negotiation to move forward.

Learning-Focused. Parties in constructive disagreement see conflicts as opportunities to get feedback on how well a system works, so that necessary changes can be made. They also see it as a challenge to be flexible and creative in coming up with solutions for everyone’s gain.

Building Consensus

Consensus means unanimous agreement on an area of contention. Arriving at a consensus is the ideal resolution of bargaining. If both parties can find a solution that is agreeable to both of them, then anger can be prevented or reduced.

The following are some tips on how to arrive at a consensus:

Focus on interests rather than positions. Surface the underlying value that makes people take the position they do. For example, the interest behind a request for a salary increase may be financial security. If you can communicate to the other party that you acknowledge this need, and will only offer a position that takes financial security into consideration, then a consensus is more likely to happen.

Explore options together. Consensus is more likely if both parties are actively involved in the solution-making process. This ensures that there is increased communication about each party’s position. It also ensures that resistances are addressed.

Increase sameness and reduce differentiation. A consensus is more likely if you can emphasize all the things that you and the other party have in common, and minimize all the things that make you different. An increased empathy can make finding common interests easier. It may also reduce psychological barriers to compromising. An example of increasing sameness and reducing differences is an employer and employee temporarily setting aside their position disparity and looking at the problem as two stakeholders in the same organization.



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How to Manage Emotions in Your Team

How to Manage Emotions in Your Team

Emotions are a fundamental part of every person, and the success of your team requires these emotions to be managed correctly. Team members need to be encouraged to understand their emotions and learn how to use them correctly. Some team members may have the view that there is no place for emotions in a team, but emotions will always play a role and must be managed and utilized effectively. Each team member’s make up, which includes emotions and the ability to manage them, emotional intelligence and communication skills are all a part of whether or not a team is successful.

As a team leader, you also need to be aware of your own emotions and be able to manage them correctly. If, for example, your team has an important deadline that they are in danger of missing; the way you handle the situation emotionally can have a significant effect on the outcome. How you approach the situation will depend on your natural tendencies as well as your level of professionalism. You can either call a team meeting to explain the ramifications of missing the deadline, or you may take the more volatile route and yell at everyone and tell them to get to work. Deciding the best approach can be done by weighing up the pros and cons of each and considering which would result in the most positive outcome. Do not rely only on how you feel, but what makes logical sense.

The Role of Emotional Intelligence in Your Team

The Emotional Intelligence of your team members plays a vital role within the team dynamics. How the team members feel about themselves, interact with others and handle conflict is directly related to the quality of their contributions to the team. Emotional Intelligence includes the development of both social and personal proficiency.

Social Proficiency

  • Empathy – Being aware of others’ feelings and exhibiting compassion.
  • Intuition – An inner sense of the feelings of others.
  • Political Acumen – Ability to communicate, strong influence and leadership skills, and conflict-resolution skills.

Personal Proficiency

  • Self-Awareness – Understanding one’s own emotions. The ability to assess one’s self as well as display confidence.
  • Self-Regulation – Managing one’s emotions. Maintaining trustworthiness and flexibility.
  • Motivation – Being optimistic about situations. Having the drive to take initiative and commit until completion.

Disagreeing Constructively

There will not always be agreement on all matters relating to the team. You can expect disagreement to take place within the team from time to time. This need not be a negative experience, but positives can be gained if the disagreement is constructive. To disagree constructively means to do so in a positive productive manner. You are not disagreeing for the sake of disagreeing or to get your point across. Disagreement should also not be negative or destructive of other team members’ thoughts. Constructive disagreement is acknowledging and confirming someone else’s ideas before presenting your own.


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