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Debate vs. Discussion vs. Dialogue
May 01, 2018

What do you actually want - and need - to do?

Are you doing what YOU consciously want to do?

Or are you unconsciously doing what inertia has taught you to do?

Is the quality of the communication within the team you lead, supporting your performance?

Or is it hindering it?

Do you know? Can you tell with certainty?

Here are three simple distinctions that will help you see what it is you are actually doing – these simple distinctions will also help you choose what it is you really want to do.

DEBATE

When you are in a debate – you convey your best argument to convince the others.

In other words – you engage in a debate when you know you are two steps ahead of the rest, and you are positive you are right.

If this is the case, you are assertive and you show ‘the way’ to your team.

To have productive debates, you must practice advocacy (the promotion of your own ideas).

But – are you positive you are right?

DISCUSSION

When you are in a discussion – you exchange ideas to gain agreement and/or to make a team’s decision.

In other words – you engage in a discussion when you and/or your team members cannot move ahead any further without gaining team agreement and/or making a decision first.

If this is the case, your team must bring out all of your team members’ perspectives and knowledge, in order to place on the table (for all to see) ALL the available information.

To have productive discussions, ALL of you must practice honesty no matter what.

But – do all of your team members have the real trust, in order to do so?

DIALOGUE

When you are in a dialogue – you explore your team members’ best thinking, in order to learn together.

In other words – you engage in a dialogue when all of your team members want to learn from one another – making the whole (the team) greater than the sum of its parts (team members).

If this is the case – all of your team members must assume that all of you are two steps behind everybody else, in order to listen to all other team members and to really discover everybody else’s perspectives and knowledge.

To have productive dialogues – you must practice inquiry (the search for new ideas).

But – do all of your team members have the genuine humility to do so?

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When your team’s modus operandi is “debate” – ask yourself:

Are we REALLY listening to each other?

When your team’s modus operandi is “discussion” – ask yourself:

Are we REALLY confronting each other – and engaging in productive conflict?

When your team’s modus operandi is “dialogue” – ask yourself:

Are we REALLY learning from one another?

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Are you like most managers?

Most managers unconsciously tend to mix all three (debate with discussion with dialogue).

I designed this article to help you clearly see the difference – and to give you sufficient information to help you choose which one is most strategic – given your changing particular circumstances.

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Once again …

Are you doing what YOU consciously want to do?

Or are you unconsciously doing what inertia has taught you to do?

Is the quality of the communication within the team you lead, supporting your performance?

Or is it hindering it?

Conclusion:

All three – debate, discussion and dialogue – are necessary in the life of your team.

The question is:

Are you using each one of them WHEN it is most strategic for your team – in order to build your desired results?




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See you next month!
Joseluis Romero - Publisher
www.Skills2Lead.com
May 1, 2018. Copyright: All rights reserved
I publish "Leader Newsletter" on the first Tuesday of every month
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