Buster Benson: Mastering The Art Of Productive Disagreement

Can you recall the last time you tried to talk to someone about a personal, political or work issue and quickly discovered their view of the situation was entirely different than yours?

How’d that work out for you?

If words like “strained,” “painful,” “awful” or “never again,” come to mind – you have company.

Acknowledging that we’re living in a highly polarized world these days – many of us have simply come to decide that engaging in any kind of disagreement is no longer worth it. Consequently, we go out of our way to avoid conversations with people when we anticipate it could lead to conflict, raised voices or even ruined relationships.

The problem with these pain avoidance tactics, however, is that we actually need disagreements in order to keep our relationships with others healthy. Famous marriage researcher, Dr. John Gottmann says any relationship without a conflict is a relationship without communication. And any relationship without good communication is destined to fail. Science even finds that people are happier – and groups are higher functioning – when the flow of necessary disagreements is open and they have a chance to be heard.

So how then can we make our disputes and wrangling with other people more successful?  How can we maneuver through an argument with our partner, challenge the performance of an employee, or generally disagree with anyone in our life more productively?

Former Amazon, Twitter, & Slack executive Buster Benson has just written an especially clever, highly accessible and wonderfully practical guide that teaches the very skills we all need. And he joins us on this podcast to discuss that new best-seller, “Why Are We Yelling? The Art Of Productive Disagreement.

While there’s no question some conflicts in life can be ugly, knowing how to diffuse an emotional charge – and to turn disagreements into productive interactions – is a profound leadership power & skill to possess.  Listen in to begin your essential and incredibly timely education!

By Mark C. Crowley

Mark C. Crowley is the author of Lead From The Heart: Transformational Leadership For The 21st Century which has been taught in 11 American universities. He is a global speaker, leadership consultant and thought leader on the topics of workplace culture and employee engagement.