Groupwork Institute Blog

The power of YES: 3 Tips to responding when you disagree

Mediaeval knight in full armour brandishing a sword and shield

These days it's less likely that you'll have a sword though your heart if you're open to another person's input Photo by Henry Hustava on Unsplash

One of the things we’re most scared of is giving away our power. The idea that we would put ourselves in a weaker position – in any communication or situation – feels instinctively wrong.  

In conversation, this fear can play out as holding onto our opinions; our need for control is paramount.

Deeply hard-wired into us as part of our survival mechanism, control gives us a sense of safety and certainty.

However, the consequence of control can be a guarding of your heart, your more vulnerable selves.

Becoming vulnerable feels like we could BE controlled by another person or situation. Ultimately, though, control can be a stopper of connection. And when we’re blocking the communication flow between ourselves and another, all that could happen and be created in that conversation – if only for the letting go of control – is stifled.

This patterning is unconscious, meaning it’s an automatic scripting that is inter-generational and ancient.  It’s based on good historical proof that if we let our guard down, there’ll be a sword through our heart before we know it!

So until we recognise that this pattern even exists within us, we’re completely unable to change it.

Being aware of this ‘protection’ dynamic within is a huge help.

Self-awareness means you can begin to see what you’re doing to unwittingly sabotage your interactions with others in the name of ‘protecting’ yourself. It’s not easy to break the unconscious guarding and defensive patterns, but it makes a positive and powerful difference.

The ONLY way ideas flow and build between people is when there is connection.

When people feel they are valued by others in the conversation, they remain open, or become open, where they weren’t previously.  Feeling like you matter to others is a profound human need, and if we can create the environment for that feeling to germinate, we’re doing our best work as communicators.

Our job should always be to first prioritise the CONNECTION between ourselves and others, over everything else.

Try changing even a few words in your conversations

A massive shift can result from applying these ideas:

  1. Say ‘YES’  or ‘thank you’ when you’re hearing a new perspective that you DON’T agree with initially, to keep yourself open to what someone else is offering in a conversation.
  2. Put aside your idea and opinion in the moment.
  3. Make what YOU think LESS important than the connection.

For example …

“Yes … so you think x, y and z? Is that right? Wow … I’m not sure what I think about that. Can you tell me a bit more?”

“Thank you. That’s a really different perspective you’re offering – it might take me a moment to get my head around it.”

This isn’t some weak-kneed attempt at ingratiating yourself!

There’s neither agreement or disagreement with the other person. You’re looking for that sweet spot where you’re both open to another perspective WHILE  standing by what’s true for you.

Giving away your power can happen without losing anything but a mistaken belief: that you could ever lose when you act from kindness.

When we provide training in supervising skills, we help you increase your ability and capacity in this perspective of opportunity to explore, versus holding your position. I hope you can join us for our next short course, or engage us to work with your team to deepen your connections with your staff and colleagues.

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