If you never disagree, you’re irrelevant.
Here’s how to disagree successfully:
1. Ask what to do if you disagree before disagreements emerge.
2. Watch and learn when others disagree.
3. Avoid win-lose situations; it’s likely you’ll lose.
4. Know and embrace the boss’ goals. If you don’t align with the big picture, find another job.
5. Come with solutions and options, or don’t come at all.
6. Defend your options; don’t make them defend theirs.
7. Don’t prove the boss wrong unless you have the facts. (See #9)
8. Come with the facts. Your opinion isn’t more valuable than others unless you’re an expert.
9. Private is better than public.
10. Listen, listen, listen. Listening is respect. Respect opens the heart.
11. Fill your relationship with agreements before expressing disagreements. Every agreement is a deposit in your relationship-account. Express agreements frequently and publically.
12. Approach from the side, not the front. Lateral approaches sound like, “Could I make a suggestion?”
13. Offer alternatives rather than critiques. “What if…” is better than “But” and “Why?”
14. Don’t waste your relationship collateral nitpicking.
15. Publicly and privately align with organizational mission and vision. If you aren’t clearly entrenched in making positive impact, keep your mouth shut.
16. Understand that sandwiching disagreements between two agreements never works like you expect. Effective bosses cut to the chase and ignore peripherals. (Refer to #11)
17. Express agreements even though they don’t work. It’s respectful.
18. Stay focused on the present. Bringing up past issues is picking scabs off old sores.
19. Ask if you can test your option to see how it works.
20. Drop it. Once the decision is made, if you can’t grab an oar and row like heck, grab a life vest and jump overboard.