Challenging Conversations

The sweet spot of confrontation!

When important change or decisions are discussed in meetings, at any level, what happens?

  • Does the meeting leader simply lay things out without any disagreement? Do questions, requests for alternatives, go largely unanswered?
  •  Is tension high, disagreement constant, a battle atmosphere of constant confrontation throughout the meeting?

Neither advances the organization toward its goals. When no one disagrees, staff are not engaged in the decision or change. They are either afraid to take the risk of offering  a different opinion, or they don’t care.

But a battle atmosphere is no better.

You find the sweet spot when everyone knows how to engage in “challenging conversations”, challenging because:

  • They are difficult interactions that need to be managed through appropriate rules of engagement; and
  • They are conversations that challenge an idea that has been offered by one of the participants.

Few decisions/plans are perfect from conception. When ideas are challenged, as they are formed or as they are implemented, better options emerge for better results.

The best process in the world isn’t effective if people don’t feel safe engaging each other and having open, honest conversations. Learning to manage challenging conversations is essential to better decision-making, effective problem-solving, and productive teamwork. Creating a safe environment for disagreement ultimately provides a competitive advantage.

Too little challenging of ideas? Too fierce confrontations during decisions? Learn a better way.

Growing Leaders


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