Arguments, Discussions & What Bad Bosses Do…

“Any argument has two sides, and they’re usually married to each other.”

There are three basic ways to resolve differences among people; argue, discuss or declare. It’s likely that you’ve had experiences with each and every favor (sometimes unknowingly) one approach over another. What method you choose and when and where you choose to apply it speaks volumes about who you are and the nature of your personal relationships.

While most people outwardly view showing and telling as a high-risk, low-reward approach; few of us consciously choose to argue out our differences. Typically, an emotional response with little forethought, our ability to avoid arguments in favor of discussion, is a strong indicator of emotional maturity.

Being right doesn’t mean much, if you are the only one that thinks so ”.

Many of us prefer to view ourselves in the well-balanced light of the listener-learner that harnesses the power of the discussion to drive performance and enhance social bonds. However, just as emotions can move use into an argumentative danger zone, lack of consideration may cause us to overlook opportunities for productive discussion.

The big no-no for leaders comes with the short-fused use of declarations. At home, out of frustration, exhaustion and the sheer desire to make-it-stop, parents resort to declarations as means to summarily dismiss younger children. The approach loses much of its effectiveness on pre-teens, is entirely ineffective with teens and is a cautionary tale when applied to a spouse (DON’T DO IT).

So, why do some leaders feel they have the right to summarily dismiss the opinions of employees by declaring how it’s going to be? Sure, there are some cases where snap judgments need to be made and made now. But for those leaders that believe their hierarchical role, paygrade or other anointed power gives them the right to treat employees’ opinions with less respect than we would grade school-aged children, is simple unacceptable.

The bigger question is… why do we let leaders behave badly?

As always, I invite you to share your comments and experiences directly at

Until next time. Stay connected.