Freewheeling discussions about business matters aren’t always comfortable, but they can be an important part of teamwork. Without them, you may miss out on successful strategies. When a team member disagrees with you, it can actually open up dialogue and help you see the bigger picture. Here's why some level of disagreement is healthy.

Thinking Outside the Box

It's easy to fixate on the issue at hand from your own point of view, but this can lead to tunnel vision and not seeing the bigger picture. Having your team disagree with you fosters outside-the-box thinking, which in many cases is just what is needed for a breakthrough idea or successful initiative. It can be especially useful to approach situations from different perspectives. Chances are that those other perspectives will uncover angles you hadn't considered. Even if the alternatives suggested aren’t ultimately accepted, that disagreement may still present some valid points that can be used to improve the original proposal.

Identify Risks

The nature of disagreement indicates that someone sees a flaw in your way of thinking. Regardless of who is right or wrong, the disagreement may uncover risks you had not thought of and shine a light on a point of view likely to be shared by other parties, such as customers or clients. Disagreements can help you identify the risks that come with your own line of thinking, even if you still wish to pursue your original plans.

Ideas Are More Thought Out

Disagreement means conversation. It allows you to explore an idea thoroughly before reaching a conclusion and acting on it. It gives you a chance to think about different scenarios and explore them in what could be viewed as something of a trial run before the proposal is actually implemented. Your ideas, as a result, are likely to be more thought out.

Gain a Better Understanding of Your Team's Thought Process

Another positive aspect of encouraging your team to speak up when they disagree is that it allows you to gain a better view into their thought processes. Disagreements can reveal a lot about how a team member thinks about the work you're all doing. This can give you knowledge about practices and strategies that you didn't realize were happening – good or bad. Essentially, it can help everyone involved come to a greater understanding and put everyone on the same page.

"By working through conflict together, you’ll feel closer to the people around you and gain a better understanding of what matters to them and how they prefer to work," says Amy Gallo at Harvard Business Review.1 "You’ll also set an important precedent: that it’s possible to have “good” fights and then move on."

Inclusivity

Encouraging disagreement also makes your team members feel like they are included in decision-making. It gives them a voice, which can make them care more about the topic at hand and their own role with the company. This can lead to greater productivity and better overall work.

As the person in charge of your company, don't get bogged down by the "my way or the highway" line of thinking. Encourage healthy debate from your team on everything from making improvements to efficiency to exploring a new revenue stream. Regardless of the path forward, you will have a better, more thought-out view of the matter.

As Mahatma Gandhi said, “Honest disagreement is often a good sign of progress.”

1. https://hbr.org/2018/01/why-we-should-be-disagreeing-more-at-work