The word Argument is heard often in the field of conflict resolution. It is one of the words heard most often when a conflict is examined during the course of a mediation or even a post-mediation lessons learned process.
It is an important word with broader application that one gets by listening to what goes on around them. Many of us hear every day that someone got into an argument with so and so. All of us can benefit by the reminder that the most common understanding of this word is well down the list of definitions. There are a total of six definitions for this word, but one is obsolete, so only five are relevant today.
For this post, I believe the strongest benefit for us in our everyday considerations is number two on the list which is “a reason or set of reason given in proof or rebuttal”. Closely following this definition is the third definition which is “a coherent series of statements leading from a premise to a conclusion”.
Defining an argument as a quarrel or disagreement is well down the list. My point in this post, in a sense, is a continuation of my earlier post. As executives, leaders, managers, your goal is not to avoid or mitigate disagreements, but deal with them through reasoned persuasion or by reasoned argument. And lest anyone forget, reasoned argument carries with it the obligation to listen using both active listening and empathic listening skills.
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