How to Disagree

constructively at work

12 Dec, Cambridge and in-house UK-wide

Disagreement is the engine of good decision-making. Yet many of us find it difficult to challenge others – or to be challenged ourselves. This workshop helps individuals and teams improve their capacity for constructive disagreement, and hence for effective collaboration and decision-making.

Open course:

20th Dec, Cambridge

About the course

Course overview

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How do you generate your best ideas?

Teams have a big advantage over individuals when it comes to generating ideas and solving problems: They comprise a mixture of people with different perspectives, experiences and skills. Bring this wealth of knowledge to bear on a problem, and you have a much greater chance of reaching the optimal solution.  

Too often though, this rich resource isn’t tapped. Ideas generated by leaders or dominant personalities go unchallenged because others feel uncomfortable disagreeing, or become inflexible and entrenched because disagreement turns into a contest with winners and losers.

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This is bad for morale and produces bad decisions. But what can you do to prevent it? How can you get better at disagreeing well? and how can you help encourage a positive and healthy approach to disagreement in your team? This course provides the answers.

This practical and innovative workshop provides the business case for disagreement, and equips you to disagree better and to encourage a positive disagreement culture with those you work with. You’ll learn flexible techniques for disagreeing that are authentic to your communication style, and find out how to adapt the way you disagree to the different personalities you work with. You’ll also walk away with an action plan for immediate implementation back at work.


Course details

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After attending this course you will…

  • Understand key research into the value of disagreement
  • Understand the difference between constructive and destructive disagreement
  • Appreciate the important role of positive disagreement in coming to better decisions at work
  • Be able to explain the business case for promoting positive disagreement at work
  • Understand how diversity in teams can lead to better performance
  • Understand the barriers to disagreement we face as individuals
  • Be able to identify your natural disagreement style and understand its impact on others
  • Know how to adapt and improve on your natural disagreement style
  • Be able to identify and account for others’ personalities when disagreeing with them
  • Know how to deal with people who constantly disagree
  • Develop a range of techniques for dealing with disagreement, challenge and conflict
  • Have insights into the role of emotional intelligence around disagreement
  • Identify ways of shaping a culture of positive disagreement in your team

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The value of disagreement

1. Disagreement as a powerful and productive force
2. The benefits to the bottom line of disagreeing
3. The cultural value of disagreement and cognitive diversity

Learning how to disagree

4. Constructive versus destructive disagreement
5. Why it can be hard to disagree
6. Recognise your natural disagreement style
7. Work with the strengths and gaps in your natural style to become better at disagreeing

Responding to the disagreement of others

8. Identify and respond flexibly to other people’s natural disagreement style
9. Working with someone who constantly disagrees
10. Develop your tool kit in managing challenges, disagreements and conflict
11. Building your Emotional Intelligence

Practical application and changes

12. Creating/contributing to a culture of acceptable challenge and disagreement
13. Skills practise using real-life case studies
14. Action planning on your own scenario

[restab title=”Target audience”]Anyone who works in collaboration with others will experience disagreements from time to time. This course is therefore relevant to all of us – whatever our level of seniority. For some, the focus may be on learning how to speak up, and for others it may be more important to learn how to respond to challenge, or how to encourage others to speak up.[/restab][/restabs]

Course leader

Kate Jennings is a highly experienced leadership development consultant and coach, as well as a qualified counsellor. She has facilitated large-scale development programmes for a wide range of local and national organisations.

Kate’s background is in the food industry, where for many years she led teams working with clients such as M&S, Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose. Building on this experience she has spent 15 years working with executives and staff teams for some of the UK’s most well-known organisations. Kate works across private, public and voluntary sectors, with clients in the UK, Europe and USA

Kate Jennings - Cambridge Executive Development

Track record

“Working with Cambridge Exec has been a massive success and has provided a large section of our colleagues across the business with the tools and techniques to transform difficult conversations into every day conversations… A course and trainer I would highly recommend.”
L&D Specialist, Northern Gas

“Wonderful day. Filled me with positive energy and feeling very motivated at a much needed time.”
Delegate, John Lewis Partnership

“Great learning experience, but more importantly, I feel I can use what I’ve learnt in everyday life – work, home and personal.”
Marketing Manager, Life Fitness

“Very engaging and interactive. Kate was superb.”
Director, Advertising Standards Agency

“I am noticeably more confident and self-aware since I took part on the course and feel empowered to develop my career in a way that plays to my strengths.”
Scientist, British Antarctic Survey

Cambridge Exec clients - leadership

Additional learning resources

Post-course support

We understand that your professional development doesn’t end when you walk out of the classroom. The time you’ve put in will only make a real impact if your learning is carried into the way you work. That’s why we offer post-course support in implementing your new skills, for as long as required. Your trainer is available to discuss problems, provide advice or offer feedback until you feel confident on your own.

E-learning package

This course also includes access to an ‘e-learning pinboard’, a password protected webpage where your trainer has posted articles, videos, interviews and other useful tools around wellbeing at work for you to draw on for inspiration and ideas going forward.

In-house courses at your offices

If you have any questions or if you would like to speak to Kate or one of our other trainers about how this workshop could be adapted to the needs of your organisation please get in touch. We can deliver the programe at your offices, anywhere in the UK – and beyond.

In most cases we can provide an all-inclusive quote to cover design, delivery and materials with some basic information:

  • Which course or workshop you are interested in
  • Where it would take place
  • How many delegates need to be trained

Just drop us a line with these basic facts and we’ll get back to you with a no-obligation quote on the same day.

Attend the open course

If you would like to attend this workshop we are running an open session on 12th December in Cambridge.

The workshop runs from 9:30am to 1:00pm.

Places are £295+VAT, with discounts available for multiple bookings.

To book a place please complete our booking form.