The Art of Being Disagreeable

By Robert Holmes | business

Apr 28

Disagreeableness is an important psychometric, and forms part of one’s personality. People who are highly agreeable are basically people-pleasers – the typical second born bridge builder – the peace maker. People who are highly disagreeable basically don’t give a tinker’s cuss what other people think of them or their actions. I’m sure with a bit of imagination you can think of people at both ends of this spectrum, and when you do… you’ll think of good examples and bad ones.

I can think of highly agreeable people who are fawning, salivating idioms of false praise, flattery and hollow encouragement. I can also think of incredible diplomats who know how to listen, hear everyone’s side and work a way through that pleases all parties. They are incredible.

I can also think of highly disagreeable people who seem to go out of their way to annoy people, passing judgment, giving their unwanted opinions. The kind of people who make you feel like you’ve had smoke blown in your eyes. Then there are the go-getters, the people who just never give up, who take rejection as a compliment and keep going until they get what they want.

I recently read “The Art of Being Unreasonable” by Eli Broad, one of the richest men in America. As a result, I’ve been grooming an extra serving of disagreeableness in my life, because it seems to get results. One of them was with Army. At a time when they were firing consultants and terminating coaching contracts I was pushing for a gig at the Soldier Recovery Centre, and it took months to land. But once we got it, we could prove our trauma coaching would work, and away we went. Being a bit unreasonable was worth it – for them and for us.

You’re gonna need a fairly healthy dose of disagreeableness to get any kind of large contract, government work, raising kids or sustaining your marriage. You just have to persist!


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About the Author

Robert is an expert in the science of human behaviour and performance enhancement with a passion for neurology, leadership and the psychology of potential. He believes it is important to bring hard science to coaching, and that coaching practices be evidence based and research backed. Robert is a founding partner at Frazer, Holmes Coaching and current Director of Brand and Marketing for the International Coach Federation Australasia (ICFA). Robert is a professionally certified coach (PCC) with over 20 years of business experience and an ICF Accredited Mentor Coach. He is an Associate at the National Speaker's Association, a member of the Coaching Psychology interest group at the APS, a certified Action Learning Coach, a Member of the Australian Institute of Management Consultants.