In Challenging the status quo at work—a good post that you should read mostly for the excellent framework for how to challenge ideas in the workplace—Hebba Youssef writes:
Many of us never learn the valuable life skill of productive disagreement. You can thank your parents for that.
Many parents choose not to argue in front of their children for fear of impact. But it’s not the frequency of arguments that matters, it’s HOW respectfully the parents argue. It turns out productive arguments actually help flex the creative muscle and teach children to speak up with their ideas.
So if you didn’t grow up in a family that openly handled conflict you may not like conflict or have the tools to handle conflict. It doesn’t help that few workplaces teach employees how to productively challenge ideas or how to handle conflict.
My parents never had an argument in front of me and brother, and it made me really scared of conflict. My wife’s family was… quite the opposite. So one thing I have learned from her over the years that is important to remember is this: it’s not the public argument that matters, it’s how you publicly repair afterwards. That’s the part that teaches kids about healthy conflict.
Or, to quote Pink Floyd, “all we need to do is make sure we keep talking.”