An interesting concept came up in our discussions yesterday: productive conflict. It’s the idea of discussing or even arguing a point not so you can win, but so you can make sure that you have a complete understanding of the idea; that way everyone involved in the discussion is on the same page.
There is no mud slinging or sarcasm involved. This is about picking apart the idea, not the proponent of the idea.
For some people, this is a difficult thing to grasp. We are so used to accepting ideas and not rocking the boat.
We are also not generally encouraged to argue with a manager, customer or hiring manager.
I am not suggesting that you get into a fistfight at your next job interview. That’s not what this is about. It’s about discussing and questioning to show that you are engaged and interested.
The objective is to have the person you are talking with say “hmmm… that’s a good point” at least once.
Then you will know that you have added value to the conversation and given the person pause. Hopefully enough pause to have recognized and internalized that value.
So listen actively and with confidence. Take what you hear, flip it on its ear and toss it back without fear.