A lot of women I work with find it really difficult to disagree with someone’s point of view, opinion or decision and it inevitably goes one of two ways – they either chicken out and say nothing at all, reporting to passive behaviour and just letting it wash over them or they have a bash at disagreeing but screw it up and end up with a bit of a car crash situation that often brings out the aggressive or worse, the passive aggressive in them – sulking, moodiness, the silent treatment, holding a grudge etc.
This is a situation that happens in lots of different circumstances and with different relationships – it can rear its ugly head in a work context with a boss, stakeholder, customer or even in a personal set up with a partner, children, friends or even the mother in law!
So, the better we can become, the more skilled we can be in being able to disagree assertively, the more likely we will get the desired outcome. And I guess my first tip this week is in relation to that specific point – what do you want as an outcome? What result are you actually trying to achieve?
You may be surprised to hear that many women can’t actually answer that question. They don’t actually know what they want. They can tell you what they don’t want but that’s actually unhelpful and contributes to this type of conversation going downhill rapidly. Sometimes, we even engage in a disagreement just because. It’s almost a resentment thing and it’s pure passive aggressive. So just check in with yourself first about what it is you actually want.
Tip 2 is to use your pause button. This is the ability to create a bit of space between stimulus and response. Without it we react – that’s when we get it wrong as we end up reacting based on mood, feelings and circumstance. When we have the ability to press pause, and consider our response, then we are able to respond differently – based on principles (what’s important about the way I handle this) and desired results (what I’m trying to achieve here as an outcome) hence why tip 1 comes first. You credibility goes up hugely when you master the capacity to do this.
My third and final tip to disagree assertively is to choose your language wisely. Ensure you’re using positive, highly accountable words and if you can, avoid using the word disagree. Remember, assertiveness is about consideration first before courage so resist the temptation to go in like a bull in a china shop. Listen first, you never know, you may be enlightened and even change your mind! That’s ok, have the humility to do so if it’s the right thing to do. However, my suggestion for if you still wish to disagree is to follow that listening with a curious mindset. Instead of saying “I disagree”, respond with something along the lines of “I can see where you are coming from, I’ve got a bit of a different view on that, could I share my thoughts with you?”
This approach should ensure that you open up the dialogue and maintain a strong relationship whilst you resolve your differences. It takes tenacity, perseverance and a good bit of grit to see you through these challenges, but they’re all character and capability building in the long run!
If you’d like to learn how to handle these types of conversations more effectively and confidently then I recommend you consider signing up to my 8 week online assertiveness course. The doors are open now for enrolment and this cohort kicks off on Friday 1st November! You can find all the details here bit.ly/8-week-assertive and if you’d like to discuss whether it will be right for you then take advantage of my FREE 15 minutes discovery calls where I can answer you questions and show you how I can help you best. Just message me to book and use the contact form on my website. There some special bonuses and early bird price offers available this week only so ACT FAST and BOOK YOUR PLACE NOW!