Leadership Thought #276 – Never Argue For The Sake Of Arguing

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Leadership Thought #276 – Never Argue For The Sake Of Arguing

We have all met people who seem to argue for the sake of arguing.  Some people just seem to need to find flaws in everything or disagree just to be disagreeable.  It is one thing to have a different point of view.  It’s quite another to always default to having a different perspective.  Being objectively critical and becoming a crank are separated by a fine line.

I used to feel that as a leader it was my job to always have the last word and to be the smartest person in the room.  Thankfully, I no longer suffer from that affliction.  Events and circumstances have a way of humbling your ego and challenging your personal opinions.  I have also learned it takes too much effort to spend your time “one-upping” other people, especially when you could be spending your time doing things that are more productive.  As the saying goes, “if you have to continually prove how smart you are to other people, then you may not be all that smart.”

I am not advocating that you just go along and accept everything without dissent.  Constructive debate is important in all areas of life.  The best decisions are typically the result of working through differing opinions and alternative points of view. Innovation is all about challenging status quo thinking.  However, I encourage you to pick your battles and have a sense of proportion.  No one person is always right about everything.  It’s always a good idea to think about your real intentions before arguing or disagreeing.  Be honest and ask yourself if you are focused on the issue at hand or arguing for the sake of arguing.

We all know people that when they speak everyone else immediately listens. From my experience, these people never talk just to talk.  They are willing to yield the floor to others when they don’t have comparable expertise.  They are agreeable and supportive when it makes sense and generally seek to build on the ideas of others.  And, when they do communicate a differing opinion, they respectfully back up the position they take with logic, facts, and relevant experience. They never argue just for the sake of arguing, and neither should you.

By |2017-05-08T17:18:00+00:00January 3rd, 2012|Business, Personal, Your Relationships, Your Words|4 Comments


  1. seaman7576 January 3, 2012 at 11:30 pm - Reply

    Interesting opinions conveyed in this article.
    I made a decision nearly fourteen years ago never to have an argument with another human being. I have been successful in this, albeit initially I had a challenge with myself around this choice because I was letting my ego get in the way. DIscussion, debates and exchange of ideas are useful until emotion (negative or positive) contaminates the contact. Emotion is necessary as a source of feedback about what I am doing and my style of thinking. So when I experience emotions I know that I am responsible for generating them since I believe, as an adult, that no-one else is responible for how I feel. I am responsible for every feeling I experience because I generate them all.
    I have observed in myelf and others that when we argue we are wanting two things: recognition of our point of view or to change the other’s. Once I recognised this in myself I believed it was important to let go of this attachment(s). In working on this part of me I let go of the need to argue.
    Of course I will continue to let people know what I think and believe, when invited, and to do so with respect and sensitivity. To be direct and not be cruel or brutal in that directness is a life and/or relationship skill. The moment I start experiencing emotions in my discussions I know then I am behaving from a place of attachment and then my contact with both myself and the other is under stress. I need to to then focus on my part in the contact rather than focus on the other.
    So I believe there is no value in any type of arguing as I have found all arguments in myself and others are ego driven.

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