One of my favorite bloggers is Dan Rockwell — The Leadership Freak. Dan concentrates on writing short bits designed to make leaders think about the overall health of their organizations. Recently, Dan wrote an important bit about the role that disagreement should play in decision-making.
His central argument: The best decisions depend on the willingness of leaders to elicit disagreement from their employees. He writes:
Agreement hinders effective decision-making. The bobble-heads that surround leaders may soothe the leader’s ego, but they harm organizations.
He also writes:
Decisions aren’t decisions until there are at least two viable options on the table.
Those are important notions, y’all — particularly in schools, where disagreement is often seen as disrespectful and where keeping the peace is almost always our first priority. We tend to smile and nod our way through difficult conversations, hoping to move forward quickly instead of readily embracing competing ideas. The simple truth is that the intellectual and social tension that comes with any kind of perceived conflict — including the conflict that comes the moment we disagree with one another — is something that we just aren’t prepared to wrestle with.
And that has to change.
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