Have you ever been in a meeting and heard one of your peers say something that you knew was wrong?

What did you do – say you are wrong and this is the right answer? On the other hand, did you simply contradict them with the right answer? After all…the correct answer is burning a hole in your stomach and you just had to get it out!

In business, we often find ourselves in situations of disagreement.

Too often we respond with what immediately pops in our heads without realizing how much damage that can do to our careers – especially if we embarrass the boss. So what do we do? Say what we want without worrying about the consequences, or do we allow the speaker to save face? I work with a guy who never disagrees with anyone. He simply goes on with his own business. I might question his approach sometimes, but it often seems to work well for him.

Dale Carnegie said in his best selling book, How to Win Friends and Influence People, The only way to get the best of an argument is to AVOID IT.” This principle might suggest that my co-worker is right. I believe there is another way to give us the benefit of having the right answer – while still allowing the speaker to save face.

When we immediately react with our first thought, “I disagree with you on that point,” we gain nothing. All we have done is aggravate the person that we have said this to, and we never proved that we were actually right. Instead, we might find a point we can agree on and then share our point using only facts – no emotions.

An example might look like this:

“Susie, I agree that the consultants have done a good job on the project you have worked on with them. I know they completed the project on time and under budget. Your leadership was the main contributor of their success. Consider the last five projects they were involved with. The evidence shows a different picture.  Not a single project was completed on time and all were over budget. Therefore, I believe that your leadership was the primary reason for their success, and I also believe these consultants should not be used going forward.”

Notice that I found a point that I could agree on, even complementing Susie on her success and leadership! I brought forth the evidence proving my point – without an argument. I simply stated the facts, which is always a winning strategy. How would you approach this disagreement? Comment on this post and let us know! 

“Letting one save face! How important, how vitally important that is! And how few of us ever stop to think of it! We ride roughshod over the feelings of others, getting our own way, finding fault, issuing threats, criticizing a child or an employee in front of others, without even considering the hurt to the other person’s pride. Whereas a few minutes’ thought, a considerate word or two, a genuine understanding of the other person’s attitude, would go so far toward alleviating the sting!” -Dale Carnegie

Posted by Mary Kuniski

Mary Kuniski is a catalyst for business and individual change. Throughout her career, she has consistently led corporate businesses into the future, often achieving process improvement and change that others could not. Mary’s enthusiastic attitude and tenacious ability to keep moving forward is why she identifies with this quote from Dale Carnegie: “Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.” Passionate about problem resolution and committed to coaching and leading others, Mary is driven to ensure that everything she does provides lasting value. At a young age, her leadership and public speaking skills were recognized and nurtured through her ten-year participation in 4-H. She has also fostered change for businesses such as Parkinson Voice Project, where she directed the implementation of their website and online learning management system, and Overhead Door Corporation, where she created and launched a successful core data process improvement strategy. During her tenure with The Michaels Companies, Mary held five Director positions and three Vice President roles, and pioneered the company’s expansion into Quebec. Her efforts to lead the transformation of over 40,000 craft items to three languages resulted in Michaels becoming the first international retailer to acquire language certification from Quebec on the initial attempt. This meant Michaels successfully adherred to strict French-language laws. Mary has over 20 years in executive leadership in the retail industry and for 10 years led supply chain shipment improvement and savings and reduction efforts at Michaels. Mary is a Dale Carnegie graduate, certified trainer, and consultant for Dale Carnegie DFW's Executive Leadership training. She holds an MBA in Global Management from the University of Phoenix and a degree in Human Development, Clothing Studies from Pennsylvania State University.

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