One of the keys, potentially not talked about enough, to maintaining a healthy and collaborative workspace is… Keeping debates professional and respectful. Engaging in discussions that are constructive while valuing diverse perspectives are key components to growth as a team. When we focus on the issues at hand rather than allowing debates to become heated and personal (yikes!), we cultivate an environment with mutual respect and open-mindedness. But, how? Let’s explore 6 quick tips to do so:
Set The Tone: Be the example as a leader by demonstrating respectful behavior during debates. Encourage your team to instill a mindset of listening with intention and attention while seeking common ground.
Establish Rules: Put guidelines in place to promote respectful debates. These rules can include active listening, speaking one at a time, refraining from interrupting, and avoiding language that would be hurtful.
Encourage Active Listening: When we take things personally, oftentimes these moments stem from misunderstandings or a lack of active listening. Practice active listening with the team – even in moments beyond debate or conflict.
Separate Ideas from Individuals: Encourage the team to shift their focus onto the content of the discussion, not the individual. An example? Encourage the team to adopt terms such as "I disagree with that idea" and not "I disagree with you."
Foster a Culture of Feedback: Constructive feedback plays a vital role in growth and improvement. When providing feedback, encourage your team members to focus on the impact of the ideas or actions rather than making personal judgements.
Resolution: In experiences where debate tips the healthy avalanche, involving a neutral third party can have a massive impact on coming to an understanding while finding common ground.
Read: How to Debate Ideas Productively at Work There are 4 general rules that will help your team have productive debates in the workplace, which allows diversity to roam free. And, as you may know, cognitive diversity makes groups smarter. If you’re ready for your group to share their expertise and opinions without holding back, give this a read. Listen: Listen: A culture of transparency | Anitra St. Hilaire, VP of People, ThreeFlow There’s a direct correlation between business performance and communication within our organizations, so by ensuring that we optimize our communication channels, creating safe spaces, and allowing said space to grow, we’re directly impacting our business. For more on this, check out Anitra St. Hilaire, VP of People at ThreeFlow, on the Raising The Bar on Leadership Podcast.