In my work, I interact with a lot of different people. Sometimes I’m surprised by how varied business owners’ approaches to management are.

I am a big proponent of “Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood,” Habit No. 5 of Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Being a fast-paced and results-oriented person, it has taken many years for me to get better at slowing down and doing the hard work it takes to truly understand another person’s point of view. I am not perfect at it, but I have gotten better over time at doing so.

I don’t like conflict but will engage in it when necessary. I find that working hard at understanding another person’s point of view diminishes the need for conflict.

Recently, I interacted with a couple of business owners who told me that they like to argue with others—not yell and scream, but engage in a discussion that involves lots of back and forth.

I did an on-site with one of these folks and watched him in action. What I noticed is my client liked the arguing but no one else in the company did. Why? Most people do not like arguing, plain and simple. Most employees don’t like conflict and will do anything to avoid it. So, if the owner insists on other people arguing with them, what do those employees do? They stop talking. The owner talks at them and no communication takes place.

Another business owner, who likes to argue and feels there is nothing wrong with that, told me that it did take quite a while for his employees to adapt to his style. But what a journey that must have been!

Who is the one who needs to change in this situation? The owner, not the employees. A good manager who understands their co-workers goes out of the way to be a good fit for them. Why? That is how to make a lot of money, because the employees will be most effective when they don't have to stress about being comfortable with arguing.

A short period of considering a variety of solutions for an issue is good. It must be a short period. Then the manager makes a decision after reviewing all the input that was offered and listened to.

As a company owner, a manager, and a leader, you have to decide how you will be the most effective in those roles. Understanding your employees and adapting to fit them, within reason, is how you will experience the most success.

Not sure if this is true? Try it and see what happens.