Coffee Conversations Ep.1: Agree, Argue or Accept

March 31, 2020
  • Bob Chapman
  • Bob Chapman
    CEO & Chairman of Barry-Wehmiller

It doesn’t matter if you are leading during a crisis, or leading your team during an average day, your ability to empathetically and effectively communicate with others is the most important skill you can demonstrate.

As we’ve said so many times on this blog, “Managers talk to their teams; leaders listen.”

That’s why we created a class for communication skills at Barry-Wehmiller – Listen Like a Leader. It’s the foundation for all our other classes in Barry-Wehmiller University and, based on the feedback we’ve received over the years, it might be our most impactful.

Unlike many corporate training experiences, the goal of the class is not to “get more out of” our team members, but rather to teach them the fundamentals of leadership, so they might positively impact the lives of others.

Overwhelmingly, graduates of the class realized how little they knew about listening vs. talking. Listen Like a Leader taught them how to listen actively—to hear not just the words but understand the meaning and feelings behind the words. The result: improved working relationships and, moreover, improved relationships with their family and friends.

Recently, we created a series of short videos as micro-lessons that reinforce the teachings of Listen Like a Leader. Hosted and conceived by David Vandermolen, a former professor in Barry-Wehmiller University and communication thought leader, this video series, Coffee Conversations, offers a quick hit of leadership insight in an entertaining way. The topic of episode one -- featured above -- is "Agree, Argue or Accept."

David said of this episode in his notes:

It’s not that difficult to understand when someone is experiencing a problem. They will send a clue, a cue or a signal they are the one who is the most upset. In such situations, you always have three options. You can agree, argue or accept.
Agree. I could agree, join in and take someone’s problem and make it my own.

Argue. I could argue my point, in a sense, to work to win the other over to take my point of view. In turn, if I opted to argue the conversation would escalate; which isn’t exactly what I want to do when I’m trying to be helpful to someone.

Accept. I could take a different posture, a whole different approach (not to agree or argue) to respond to the other with acceptance.

Responding with acceptance affords the other the opportunity, the grace and space, to sort out their feelings and thoughts to enable them to get back to a better state of mind; a better place where they are more in balance both with their thoughts and their emotions


Watch this episode through the link in the header photo above.

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