Debate Topic: Are debates helpful to thinking?

by

Arm wrestle

“I love argument, I love debate. I don’t expect anyone just to sit there and agree with me, that’s not their job.” – Margaret Thatcher

Do debates help you think through a problem? Short answer: Yes, if approached with the right mindset. There are a multitude of “thinking practices”, which are available for a person to use while they process a problem within their mind. One way to approach a problem of any given topic with multiple viewpoints around it is to consider it a debate. Many would define a debate as a contentious discussion, however I prefer to define it as a dialogue with multiple viewpoints. Therein lies a problem…

A debate can be helpful if you enter into the conversation understanding that there may be multiple perspectives brought to the table. The ultimate goal would be to hear out each perspective, understand how they apply to a given situation and assess which direction to pursue – if not a hybrid solution.

“In all debates, let truth be thy aim, not victory, or an unjust interest.”  – William Penn

But, a debate can be harmful if you enter into the conversation thinking about contention in any way. The negative connotation around this dialogue being an “argument” then leads one to feel as though they need to be defensive of their position as opposed to merely defending their position. The goal should not be to use your proficiency and knowledge to win with a subpar idea, but to discuss, understand, and to determine the best resolution.

“A good leader can engage in a debate frankly and thoroughly, knowing that at the end he and the other side must be closer, and thus emerge stronger. You don’t have that idea when you are arrogant, superficial, and uninformed.” – Nelson Mandela

Unfortunately, we are all human and oftentimes we enter into a debate with our boxing gloves on and prepared to battle. I’ve done it, you’ve done it, but that doesn’t make it productive or right. We should be true leaders and think about the most optimal resolution as opposed to just winning the argument. I think back to a previous blog I wrote (Reward v. Return: Drop the myopic lens) and a similar concept around thinking about leaving a positive legacy and not just focusing on the immediate short-term gain. This kind of legacy-focused thinking could really help level set you when you have the boxing gloves on and are ready to battle; winning the battle may be a short-term gain, so take a step back and consider other viewpoints and the bigger picture.

I have taken on the challenge to remind myself and continually strive to enter into future discussions remembering that it is usually better to debate and not decide than to decide without debating!

 

READ MORE

Calling Everyone Back to the DEI Table

Calling Everyone Back to the DEI Table

It is no secret that 2020 put a glaring spotlight on the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion in our everyday lives. As our communities reckoned with difficult questions and conversations around racial equity and justice, those topics found their way into...

read more
Did We Just Fall in Love With Hybrid Meetings?

Did We Just Fall in Love With Hybrid Meetings?

Last week, we held a two-day training session for our extended leadership team. We’d been planning it for months — the meeting room, the dinner activity, the team building exercises … the works! This was, as I’m sure you’re picking up on, more than just a meeting,...

read more
“The Great Resignation” Has a Really Good Publicist

“The Great Resignation” Has a Really Good Publicist

Mass resignations are a big deal right now. Yes. Is it surprising? Absolutely not. People leaving for greener pastures is not a new concept. How many of you — given a choice between two situations — would choose the one that LEAST benefited you? If a better option...

read more
The Human Quotient: Heuristics and Bias in Analytics

The Human Quotient: Heuristics and Bias in Analytics

As individuals, we all have a unique set of heuristics and biases that show up in our daily lives, whether we notice them or not. This means that for a lot of the decisions we make, whether personal or professional, there is an underlying, subconscious process that...

read more
Why Keeping It Real Is a Winning Strategy

Why Keeping It Real Is a Winning Strategy

If I had to sum up my pandemic year, I might say it was the year I got to spend each day of an entire summer with my daughter. It was also the year that I significantly altered my career path by taking the brilliant advice of my coach: to lead with my values (keep it...

read more
Meaningful Brand Maturity vs. Promotional Box Checking

Meaningful Brand Maturity vs. Promotional Box Checking

Featuring: Errika Flood-Moultrie Diversity. Equity. Inclusion (DEI). Individually, each word packs its own unique punch, but together, this lineup represents something much greater — profound even — and that is true head and heart transformation. As a people-first,...

read more