Disagreement is important to everything in life—friendships, marriage, partnerships, and even at work. Unfortunately, society keeps breeding arrogance and narcissism who like to go without being unchallenged.
This is when you see videos, posts, or quotes like "avoid energy vampires", "get rid of negative people", or "leave behind those who don't support you." Yes, and no to all of these because not everyone who disagrees with us is an energy vampire, negative or unsupportive. Disagreement is vital for solving problems, and if you surround yourself with people who only agree with you, you will reinforce your one-sided and possibly incorrect view on the topic.
Differing viewpoints within a team and expert circles provide valuable insights into the member's perspectives on the topic. This insight can shed light on both beneficial and detrimental practices and strategies that might otherwise go unnoticed. Ultimately, it can facilitate a deeper mutual comprehension and align everyone's perspectives.
Every expert knows that disagreement presents an OPPORTUNITY for growth and positive change.
When they hold conferences or work on topics that need to be solved, they involve experts who disagree with them. Why? Because they know how single-minded, biased, and subjective humans are. So they need other experts to balance that and keep them in order. Experts never agree on anything, yet they keep hanging out together, engaging in heated debates and then reconciling somewhere in the middle, moving us forward one step at a time.
If you don't have people disagreeing with you, who keeps you in order or moves you forward in the right direction? The right direction is the one that has been scrutinised from multiple angles by people with differing views, discussed, debated and subsequently collectively agreed upon. This is, by the way, also part of diversity. Conflicting ideologies, ideas, beliefs, points of view, and perspectives that companies are very happy to ignore.
This is missing from organisations because they prefer groupthink. Thinking, feeling, and doing the same means we are a culture fit or a team player. No, it means we are intellectually lazy, maybe arrogant, or narcissistic. Or, we are so incompetent and lack self-esteem that we are scared to offer our ways or thinking to scrutiny.
Disagreements can be unpleasant, ego-destroying, and even offensive, but they are vital. Without them, we remain in the dark. Invite people who think differently about the challenges you are trying to solve and stop existing in Lala land, where you are only surrounded by people you like, agree with, who fit into your narrative or are your besties. That's a safe & pleasant place to be, but it is very exclusive and incestuous.
We need to teach people how to gracefully play with different opinions and use those to benefit the people around us.
Two quotes pop into my mind when I see this play out:
Ricky Gervais, "How arrogant are you to think that you deserve to go through life with no one ever saying anything that you don't agree with or like?"
Friedrich Nietzsche, “The strength of a person's spirit would then be measured by how much 'truth' he could tolerate, or more precisely, to what extent he needs to have it diluted, disguised, sweetened, muted, falsified.”
PS: My besties, my partner and I are constantly disagreeing on many things, and I love those debates. They have shaped our views over the years, and I would never give up those debates.
If you want unconventional views on people management practices, here is my first book. The second one is in the making: