It's ok to disagree - the world will not end...

by tosca on Tuesday, November 3, 2009

My mother's a counsellor so that whole 'I'm ok, you're ok' that seems like so much kaka is kinda normal in our household (even though I think it IS kaka). I see it like this: I'm ok that my siblings are all nuts. See? It works. I'm also ok that most of the time we fight. About stupid things. About serious things. That's life. We get in a ruckus and we get over it. I still have to live near them. I still have to see them at birthdays and reunions. The world did not end because they booed my thought that we should stop adhering to the commercialism that is Christmas by paying exorbitant amounts of money for my family to love me (in the guise of presents). If they don't by now - screw 'em :) Love you mum LOL.

And conflict management - well shoot, as long as it doesn't end up resembling a hostage situation it's all good. Right? Right! It's all part and parcel of life. In fact, I'd even go so far as to say that conflict management is normal *gasps* I know. Shocker!

So if it's a part of life...why isn't it ok to disagree with your colleagues? Even, and I say this tongue-in-cheek and yet not tongue-in-cheek, with management (not that I've disagreed with management at all this week, but it is only Tuesday and anything can happen)? Why is it that when I disagree with colleagues they look like I pissed in their cornflakes when I so blatantly didn't because, surely, I'd remember a momentous occasion such as that? When I say I disagree, or when our staff tell me they disagree, I don't immediately think, 'Oohh dissention - stamp on it!' It would be immature to quote Ben Stiller from Sandler's 'Happy Gilmore': You could trouble me for a warm glass of SHUT THE HELL UP.

I'm gonna go Pollyanna on you (I know, what a hell of a surprise that is - shocked the crap outta me, too) - I really, honestly, hand on heart believe that it's ok for staff to disagree. With me. With each other. With their senior librarians. With their manager. And yes, with top management. More importantly, I think it's ok for them/us to disagree with each other in front of each other. Disagreement does not mean they hate me (even if they do they should at least not show it jesus and if they do that’s a whole other blog post). It does not mean they hate the organisation (even if maybe they do).

Sometimes, disagreement means exactly that - they disagree. It is not (always) an accusatory statement (even if sometimes it's voiced as such). It does not (always) mean I even have to take on board what they say (although I’d be an idiot if I didn’t investigate their justification). It is not always negativity for the sake of negativity (even if sometimes it is). Sometimes, dissention is how we move forward and, quite often, the naysayers catch the little details that so often escape us all. They even remind me what our core business is. And surely, if our systems and processes are robust, we can stand up to a little criticism?

I'm a bossy, uncompromising tart who constantly wears her bitch undies (all day every day) - but I welcome dissention - even if I don't always agree with your opinion, hairstyle, perspective, choice of literature, cat's name, lifepartner etc. ;)

I am not afraid of discord. I do not think an organisation should be one homogenous, amorphous (I hope like hell those two terms don’t contradict each other because I ain’t stopping for no dictionary) blob. I like that it should reflect the diversity of our staff.

Conflict management is a beautiful term and I'm getting a crash course in it. Now ask me if I like it! Go on...I dare you.

Please note: No library assistants or librarians were harmed in the writing of this post...at least, not physically. Psychically - well that's a whole other ballgame.

One comment

I'm all for conflict, too. But in my family it's all 'secret'...
At work - if only we could really say what we felt/thought without feeling threatened.
If only we could all live & work in environments which encouraged debate and didn't use your opinions against you.

by Annie on November 6, 2009 at 10:41 AM. #

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