Responding to Dissent
Have you had an experience of someone being critical about what you are saying? The common strategy for responding to dissent is to argue the point being made. Often the argument can become heated and lead to hard feelings. Even when the arguments are amicable, there may be very little accomplished.
The appropriate way to respond to dissent is as follows:
- Ask for clarification on the concerns being expressed. Write these down. Ask follow up questions to see if you can get a better sense of the disagreement.
- Provide a short summary of the key aspects of the disagreement to narrow the range of issues of concern.
- Acknowledge those aspects of the disagreement where you feel you can make accommodations. See if your accommodations are satisfactory.
- Where accommodations can’t be easily made, state your reasons for your position. Ask the person for ideas of how your concerns might be otherwise addressed.
- Work through the remaining disagreements in a rational way. The best way to do this is to make up a chart that shows pros and cons of the various positions.
The approach outlined above is designed to work through the dissent in a reasoned manner that differs the conflict and focuses it on practical solutions.