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How To Have Healthy Debates As A Leader Instead Of Silencing People Around You

It is great to reach an agreement. It sucks to bulldoze people into it.


The challenge is, the more you do it, the more you teach people around you to keep quiet, smile and nod. This is what happens:


People start to challenge you less

Important concerns are not raised (at least publicly)

It trickles down into the team, so people stop challenging each either, especially in front of you


Here is how to make sure you are not sabotaging healthy discussions:


Adopt a ‘yes, and’ attitude instead of a ‘yes, but’

Even if you are not fully bought into an argument, try to see how it could be true and how you can build on it, instead of shutting it down completely.


Take ownership for your mistakes or contribution to the problem

Especially in heated arguments, it goes a long way if you are quick to acknowledge your own shortcomings and how you could have done better.

Let people explain their thinking

Maybe you are someone who wants to cut to the chase and expect others to do the same. Everyone’s communication style is different, so sometimes you need to adjust yours.


Acknowledge and validate others’ point of you

People want to feel heard. Period. Validating their POV is not the same as to agree with them. Once you recognize this, it is much easier to make people feel heard.


Stop yourself before reacting with an excuse or blaming others

Blaming others or finding excuses as your by default reaction is a big no-no in leadership. It just makes you look weak and out of depth.

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