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06 Jun '14

Don't get caught in the trap of those who want endless dialogue as a means of getting their way

Posted by T.J. Addington in dialogue, humility, manipulation
There are people who must have their own way and when that is challenged they try to rope others into endless dialogue designed to wear people down until they give in. They use phrases like, "I am not being understood, can we talk?" or "I am confused by your position," and "I must not be making myself clear." If it is a group decision and their position is not being agreed with they may try to triangulate with others on the team to get their way.

Those who rope others into endless dialogue have a strategy. They have learned that they can wear others down by debate and eventually many will simply give in or give up. Often they have strong personalities and the dialogue becomes a method of intimidation until people basically surrender. 

I once observed a dialogue between two senior leaders. One of them was trying to convince the other to make a certain decision that he did not want to make. The aggressor kept coming back with different angles, never acknowledging that the other party kept saying no. It became so problematic that I finally asked them to take a time out so I could suggest to the aggressor that he needed to back off and leave it alone.  He was simply unwilling to take no for an answer and his MO was to keep pushing until someone gave in. This behavior is nothing other than bullying and intimidation under the guise of dialogue.

Healthy people don't keep pushing others when they have clearly indicated their preferences. Humble individuals do not try to force others to agree with their position. Don't allow aggressive and pushy individuals to rope you into endless dialogue. They know exactly what they are doing and it is not about "understanding each other." Rather it is simply about getting their way.