Long term collaboration in teams: Role of arguments

Why do people work in teams? What roles do arguments play in teams?

This might be intriguing to hear, How collaboration and arguments are related! Why should arguments happen while collaborating? Doesn’t collaboration mean working together?

Usually when people have a similar goal, vision, purpose they collaborate and thrive together. But as humans, it’s a natural tendency for people to have different opinions and views about things they come across. However, when people work in a team, it’s necessary that individual opinions and claims aren’t masked. Each and every opinion should be seen on the table and reasoned with the facts/logic behind it. Now you may ask what’s the necessity for this?

People won't be able to collaborate for a long period of time if they hide disagreements, dissatisfaction, and mask opinions. Because each difference in opinion diverges people in different directions. While working in a team, if there are a series of internal disagreements, and opinions that are unheard, the divergence between people’s thinking keeps on increasing, which eventually leads people to leave the team.

At Hexmos, we have experienced that people with disagreements or fake agreements are not able to work with us in long term.

Multiple times people left Hexmos. There are two scenarios in this regard. Firstly, some people departed after a week of collaboration. Even if there were verbal agreements about working in a team is better than working alone. There was some sort of internal dilemma or disagreement in their mindset and they departed. Secondly, some people were able to work together with Hexmos for months but later they left. When ideas are being discussed people who chose to do fake agreements, to not have an opinion, never expressed themselves to the group left after a few months. And few had an agreement with the milestones of the group but were neutral with the vision because they were not able to understand the importance of the vision. Eventually, they left the group.
On the other hand, when people expose their thinking process about any subject in the team it yields a better understanding between people in the team. Every time any argument happens there is learning for both parties is what I have experienced.

Arguments either gels team members together or save time for both arguing parties in case they are not able to find common stands for collaboration.

What is an argument?

Here are examples of a statement, an argument, and a sound argument :

A statement: Reading is a good activity for increasing human knowledge. You should read books.

An argument: There are only two ways to consume information for human beings, reading and listening, so reading is an activity that helps in building human knowledge significantly. You should read books.

A sound argument: There are only two ways to consume information for human beings, reading and listening. A major differentiator between a human and an animal is, a human has the ability to organize information in the brain and make decisions based on it more efficiently. You are a human being, to make justice to your existence you should read to improve your knowledge and make the best use of human power. You should read books.

An argument is defined as when someone (the arguer) presents one claim (the premise) as a reason of some kind for another claim (the conclusion). It is a connected series of statements intended to present a reason for a proposition.

A sound argument is both valid and also has all true premises. Every sound argument has a true conclusion. Its validity ensures that it cannot have true premises and a false conclusion. Thus, the truth of its premises entails that its conclusion cannot be false. That makes soundness valuable.

Benefits of arguments.

Multiple times there are arguments of different kinds that happen, technical, cultural, etc. Most of the time it helped me in taking a new approach to thinking or building a style of thinking. I would like to pour the essence of it.

Learning: At times one may lose an argument, but what can he learn from it? He gets a brand new point of view on your framework of thinking. He understands the situation better than he did before our arguments. He knows what is truth, reason, and understanding. That makes him the real winner. Instead of resenting the person who refuted our arguments, he should thank that individual for teaching.

Humility: If two people disagree without arguing, all they do is yell at each other. No progress is made. Both still think that they are right. In contrast, if both sides give arguments that articulate reasons for their positions, then new possibilities open up. One possibility is that one of the arguments gets refuted that is, it is shown to fail. In that case, the person who depended on the refuted argument learns that he needs to change his view. That is one way to achieve humility on one side at least.

Respect: Another benefit of providing an argument or of asking for an argument is that doing so expresses respect for one’s audience. When a person is arguing with someone, he is giving solid premises that support his claim, by doing this he is respecting the listener’s intelligence.

Abstraction: Arguments can help build an abstract understanding of concepts. Many common forms of arguments require reasoners to abstract away from details of a particular case and think about the issues from a more abstract perspective.

Compromise: Arguments can enable compromises. If I know your reasons for disagreeing with me, and you know my reasons for disagreeing with you, then we can work together to find an intermediate position that satisfies both of our concerns. This relates to a concept called principled negotiation, when there is a disagreement between two parties they try to resolve it by finding a win-win outcome.