8 Reasons People Don’t Like To Disagree

two people talking

A healthy disagreement is normal for organizational and personal growth. Some leaders encourage their employees to have positive disagreements with their colleagues about work issues. Research has shown that it is productive for people to have positive disagreements about their projects.

Why is it that people don’t like to disagree with their colleagues?

Let’s go!

They don’t want to hurt people’s feelings. Yes, they don’t want to hurt people’s feelings, even when it makes them look stupid. They are okay with it. What a world!

Statement: “I don’t want my friends to be angry.” “I am not going to say anything.”

Sigmund Freud said, “Unexpressed emotions will never die. They are buried alive and will come forth later in uglier ways.”

They don’t want to annoy anyone. It is good not to annoy anyone, but you are annoying yourself. You are hurting. You are hurting the organization. It is better to say something productive in a respectful way than to keep quiet.

Statement: “I am not going to offend my friends.”

“If you hate a person, you hate something in them that is part of yourself. What isn’t part of ourselves doesn’t disturb us.”- Herman Hesse, poet & novelist

They don’t want to look different. People don’t disagree with their colleagues because they don’t want to be seen as an outsider. They don’t want to be seen as different. As a result, they will stay quiet.

Statement: “I will not challenge them.”

“People won’t have time for you if you are always angry or complaining always.”- Stephen Hawking

They just want to follow the crowd. People follow the crowd when they don’t have any interest in the project. They contribute minimally to the conversation.

Statement: “I agree with all of you.”

“It is only with the heart that one can see right; what is essential is invincible to the eye.”- Antoine de Saint-Exupery

They don’t want to challenge the status quo. When the project manager is the only decision maker, people won’t even bother to question his or her decisions, because they know that their inputs won’t add anything to the project. The status quo is hard to destroy when you don’t have the leadership support.

Statement: “He or she will make the decision and get back to us.”

“Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent.”- Ludwig Wittgenstein, philosopher

They are not sure of themselves. People don’t like to disagree when they don’t have something meaningful to say.

Statement: “I don’t know what they are talking about.”

“What we cannot speak about we must pass over in silence.”- Ludwig Wittgenstein, philosopher

There is no support from others. People feel unsafe to disagree when there is no support from their colleagues.

Statement: “I can’t do it alone.”

“If you are lonely when you are done, you are in bad company.”- Jean-Paul Sarte, philosopher

They don’t have enough information. People don’t like to speak up in a company where supervisors are the only ones that have access to important information.

Statement: “I didn’t receive anything from the manager.”

“I’m not dumb. I just have a command of thoroughly useless information.”- Bill Watterson

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5 Things That Prevent People From Listening

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Listening is the most important thing in communication. Listening is vital to our survival in life. Listening helps us make the right decisions. Sometimes, people choose what they want to hear, which has the potential to change the meaning and understanding of the conversation.

The question is, “Why are people not listening?”

Here are some reasons why people don’t listen to others:

They don’t want to take responsibility:

This happens a lot. It is very easy to blame others when things are going wrong. But the main reason as to why people blame others is to prevent or avoid taking responsibility. What they don’t understand is that if you shy away from taking responsibility, you are escaping the opportunity to grow.

Responsibilities prepare you for future challenges

They believe the other guy is responsible for the problem. This happens a lot in a toxic organization, which is organization where taking responsibility is NOT in their DNA.

Don’t blame others, take responsibility for your situation. 

Fear of Criticism:

When people don’t want others to make their valued points, they defend themselves. The reason for defending themselves is, they don’t want to be criticized.

When you find yourself in this situation, try the following strategies:

  • Don’t defend yourself.
  • Open up your mind.
  • Listen to others, you will learn more from them.

Listen to others to learn from them, not to find fault with them

Listen to learn, not to talk. A great communicator listens more than they talk. If you talk a lot, you leave out a lot.

They are not Interested in Others:

People don’t listen to others because they are not interested in what others have to say. When you listen to other people, you will learn more about the world, you will learn more about yourself, and you will learn how others think.

If you don’t know how to connect positively with others, don’t be angry, you are not alone. Find ways you can handle it.

You can reduce this problem by reaching out to people. Find out what you have in common, explore it. Also, find out what is new to you, explore and understand it. That is where knowledge and awareness are going to come from.

Your knowledge and awareness increase when you explore and understand new experiences.

Lack of Trust:

Nothing important happens without trust. Some people don’t listen to others because they are afraid that others will take advantage of them. As a result, they prefer to not listen to anyone. The problem with this strategy is: it stops the flow of knowledge from a more senior employee to their junior staff. Or the other way round. According to Stephen M.R. Covey, in his book, The Speed of Trust: The One Thing That Changes Everything, defined Trust as: “Trust means confidence. The opposite of trust – distrust- is suspicion. When you trust people, you have confidence in them- in their integrity and in their abilities. When you distrust people, you are suspicious of them- of their integrity, their agenda, their capabilities, or their track record.”

They Are Always Right:

Some people don’t listen to others because they believe they are always right, while others are wrong. Wrong!

“Don’t fight to be right, but fight when you are right.” – Amit Kalantri

Don’t wait to prove your point, wait to listen, learn, and to understand what’s been said. Dr. M. Scott Peck, the author of the book, The Road Less Traveled, said, “By far the most common and important way in which we can exercise our attention is by listening.” He added by saying that: “We spend enormous amount of time listening, most of which we waste, because on the whole most of us listen very poorly.