January 2003      Vol. 12, No. 1  REAP HOME PAGE  A publication of the Center for Rural Affairs    
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Handling Employees Who Always Disagree
The employee who always says “No” to most everything presented can pose a “negative” influence in an otherwise “positive” operation. Owners and managers like to have their people agree with their plans and the means of achieving their overall operation or company goals.

At times “questioning the boss” to gain additional input into achieving higher targets can be very helpful. But if it happens all or most of the time it can present a serious problem – which may de-motivate the entire staff.

The lists below show two ways to handle such specific situations. The first is when the “No Sayer” honestly thinks the owner or manager is wrong. Outlined are the six suggestions for making certain this is the case and the procedures to direct the approach towards gaining the most from the disagreement. The second is when the employee disagrees and becomes emotionally involved. Seven recommendations for handling such a case are presented.

Two Ways to Handle an Employee Who Always Disagrees:

If They Honestly Think You Are Wrong:
  • Get the employee to explain disagreements
  • Listen carefully and thoughtfully
  • Gain agreement in more than one discussion
  • Gather information for later meetings
  • Discuss honestly/openly if the employee is open-minded
  • Be willing to change if the employee presents new facts

If They Disagree and Become Emotionally Involved:

  • Avoid reasoning if the employee starts to argue
  • Be non-committal – neither approve nor disapprove
  • Listen intently – hear the employee out
  • Avoid lengthy statements of your point of view
  • Avoid appeasement with acceptances you don’t believe
  • Make clear – disagreement won’t be held against them
  • Make meeting short – schedule another for later

 Source: National Institute of Small Business, Sbweek, January 16, 2001.
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