Listen to any two people in a heated dispute and one thing I believe you are bound to notice, and that is their surety that they are right and the other is wrong. No doubts! You can quickly tell by the absolute and dogmatic language they are using. No prefacing their statements with “I think..” or “In my opinion…’ just full-on “That’s wrong, and you’re an idiot..”.
So, how did we get here and where are we going? Well, not many people seem to have an explicit agreement to use a procedure for when they disagree with each other, including married couples, which surprises me. It is no wonder there are so many divorces and also so many workplace internal disputes between workers or between management. I say lets create a dogma-free workplace.
The solution? My solution, is to have an agreed method to OBJECT to someone use of dogma or absolute language and an agreed response to the objection. I have to admit I am well practiced to listen out for such language, but because usually we don’t have agreed to rules of engagement, I can easily get sucked into this black hole of “I am right, you are wrong” thinking. So I have decided to get some rules of engagement in place beforehand or not engage. To me, it is a warning sign that a dispute is on the horizon without such an agreement.
- Caution: If either of us detects any use of dogma or absolute language, they can CAUTION the other person in real-time, and the offender offers a simple acknowledgment.
- Object: If the offender challenges my caution and I disagree with their challenge, I can escalate my caution to an official OBJECTION and now receive a simple apology.
- Stop: If the offender still challenges my objection and I disagree with their challenge, I can escalate to a STOP and now can expect to receive an acceptable apology. Our dispute will also be automatically posted onto the Disputz Network to be reviewed by independent peers. A vote can be taken if all else fails.
With such an agreement in place, my bet is that people will be more likely to part company well before having an outright dispute or even a conflict. Problem solved.