You can never win in an argument, even if you’re right.
I tell you this as someone who loves debating. I grew up as one of six siblings in a family household of eight. As a child, I learned that I had to argue and fight for everything I wanted.
I was proud as my skills for arguing became sharp, and my witty personality kept me quick on my feet. Though only in my twenties did I began to see the faults in my ways.
Winning an argument is like winning a fist fight. You likely got hurt a few times in the process, and you left your ‘opponent’ wholly destroyed.
But if your goal is indeed to win over the person with whom you’re arguing, does destroying them ever work?
Ask yourself, have you ever been in an argument, where after you were proven wrong, you liked the other person and agreed? Or were you more likely to hold your position in arrogance, or ‘redefine’ what you originally meant in the first place?
If you’re on the losing side of the argument, you are rarely happy with the result. Even though you know you’re wrong, it leaves you with a distaste in your mouth. A win that leaves your teammate with an awful feeling is never a win in the world of leadership and team dynamics.
Your goal is to build each other up, debate ideas, and seek the truth – but how do we do that without engaging in arguments?
Well, it’s not necessarily avoiding arguments, but how we argue.
From my days as a political science student, I like to implore the Socratic Method.
It is a form of cooperative argumentative dialogue, based on asking and answering questions that stimulate critical thinking and draw out ideas or underlying assumptions.
Simply put, ask well-thought-out questions, listen carefully, have constructive dialogue and provide safety.
The person we believe the most, is ourselves.
Look to guide and lead to the answer, instead of showing and telling.