…Improve Your Argument!
Much is written about conflict and how society continues to struggle with managing it in an open forum. I see this struggle first-hand with my own clients who continue to work on their effective communications skills, especially with those who disagree with them. One of the key skills of leadership is the ability to influence and persuade their teams to go where they have not yet gone before, knowing they have to change but cannot do it on the strength of their own motivations. The Leader’s ability to persuade, and manage through the potential resistance, is directly proportional to their ability to build an argument supporting why their followers should behave differently than they are currently.
With the advent of technology infused communications tools, the ability to persuade should be easier. The ability to reach more people efficiently theoretically makes the process itself more efficient. However, if you put a more powerful power saw in the hands of a lousy carpenter, it by itself does not make the carpenter better. Instead, it means the carpenter will screw it up just that much faster! In similar fashion, giving efficiency tools to people who don’t know how to effectively communicate, or think critically, merely highlights these flaws faster!
I recently came across a quote that resonated given the public “shouting” in the media, both mainstream and social. It goes, “Are we shouting at each other because we disagree or because we agree and don’t know what to do?” I believe most would land on disagreement as the main cause of public disagreement. However, leaders must also consider the second part of the question as an option as well. The ability of the leader to determine whether the argument is about what needs to be done or how it needs to be done rests on their ability to ask the right questions, listen for the logic AND the emotion to get to the core of the issue!
Conflict is not pleasant or easy to manage, especially in the dynamic business environment of the 21st Century. When leaders effectively manage their own emotions and voice levels to continue to seek out the core issue, conflict management becomes easier and much more effective in the long run!
How are you improving your argument?