Robert Kelley argues passionately that leaders need constructive dissent from their subordinates in order to lead effectively. Clearly, this needs to be done with tact and diplomacy, but it can be done. Notably, the Intel Corporation trains each and all of its technically skilled employees in conflict management, and even goes so far as to identify its ability to surface and resolve conflict in the workplace as a distinctive competency. 1 As such, the creation of an environment where constructive dissent is the norm is a valuable and rare organizational attribute.
Engaging in constructive dissent takes courage and willingness to incur the wrath of the rest of the organization. In general, organizations do not react well to those who disrupt the social harmony. 2Consequently, training and education as to how to respectfully disagree with a supervisor can be helpful. However, nothing replaces the importance of demonstrated examples. For example, when human resource directors constructively disagree with CEOs, their advice and contributions are taken more seriously. 3 In sum, constructive dissent is essential if you want to create trusting partnerships with your followers.