Do you sometimes get worked up about discussions? It might be in your family, at work with your colleagues, team members or with your boss.
Open discussion shows that people feel safe to voice their opinions. If you are someone bringing a new proposition to the table – let’s say you’re a project manager or team leader – it might feel a little exhausting though.
Why don’t people just nod and applaud your brilliant reasoning? Haven’t you just discussed the very matter in the meeting last month and everyone agreed that it would be a good thing to do? Why is there still debate going on? Do you need to explain it again?
Very rarely there’s a quick fix for interpersonal “irritations”, but today you’re lucky. Here’s the ultimate tip on how to deal with discussions: Let them happen and change your perspective on them.
I can practically hear you rolling your eyes, but stay with me for a moment. We know from research on change that to everything new or different there will be resistance.
Very rarely are people so indifferent that they just say “Whatever!” And that’s a good thing!
Unless the conversation gets hostile, a healthy debate can move your thinking forward or show you what you may have overlooked.
So when introducing something new, plan in time for the discussion and let people have their moment of raising concerns or contributing with ideas. The buy-in will be that much bigger.
Flip the script on endless arguing
What if the debate keeps cooking up though? Well, it might, but eve more stressful than the constant discussion is your idea that “it shouldn’t be like that”. You’re basically arguing with reality and you can’t win THAT debate.
Here’s a simple change of perspective that might help you be a bit more at ease in these situations.
Mentally separate the discussion part from the decision-making part. All discussion and debate is allowed, but it must be clear that there is only one person (or committee) that actually makes the decision.
So if that’s you, don’t stress out thinking with all the arguments your team brings forward that you now have to change direction or revoke the decision you’ve made.
In fact, you can be very direct about this telling them that you are willing to hear them out (but only if you really are), but that the decision is up to you.
Small caveat though – please don’t invite “open discussion” if you’re already quite clear about the way forward and made up your mind. That comes across fake (yes, people will notice) and wastes everybody’s time!