Did you know there are benefits to creating a work culture that encourages disagreement?


Often we view disagreements negatively and work to avoid them. We fear public humiliation and rejection as a result of them. However, we can gain from the opportunities they present by creating a work culture that promotes disagreements, and teaches employees how to manage them properly.

Here are a few of the reasons to promote disagreements in the workplace;

Disagreements are hallmark of a successful team.

Apathy and a lack of constructive discussion don’t promote trust, ownership or respect among colleagues. A team that values each person’s opinion and creates space to voice opinions builds trust and understanding.

They lead to innovation.

We, at docs24, value innovation. We want to provide the best services we can for our clients. Thus we need to constantly grow and develop. But if we all only did as we were told, without question or contribution, any potential growth or development would become stagnant. Sharing different opinions leads to conversation and idea development.

Disagreements create shared ownership.

When working on a project, which do you enjoy more: The project you’ve been told to do or the one you helped plan? Through disagreement, employees can share constructive conversations and work on new ideas together. Everyone who helped shape the project becomes an owner.

They can develop better understanding.

Disagreeing doesn’t always lead to change. You might voice your opinion and still be told to do what you originally disagreed with. However, that doesn’t mean there is no value in disagreeing. Voicing a different opinion and discussing it can help you better understand the reasons behind the decision.

Disagreements teach personal growth.

You may not always be the one disagreeing. Having someone disagree with you can expand your thinking and highlight areas for improvement you would never have seen.

To gain the most from disagreements, they need to be managed properly. For example, a shouting match or angry outburst won’t create trust or progress an idea. So, how do we create a safe environment for healthy and productive disagreements?

One place to start is by setting our expectations. For example, when a new staff member joins the docs24 team they are given a copy of our company culture book. This explains how we approach our work, our clients and one another. One of our key values is “open, honest communication”. If we adhere to this in how we communicate with one another, it sets out an expectation for how to have a constructive conversation. Our culture book states; “Listen well instead of reacting fast, so you can better understand. Express your concerns and ideas in the meeting. The more minds that are working on a problem, the more likely we are to find the best solution.”

By setting our expectations and intentions from the start, we begin to create a safe and respectful space for disagreements.

How do you manage disagreements? Do you have a safe place to voice your opinions?