You Want Disagreeable People around You

By | March 2, 2023

[March 2, 2023]   You want disagreeable people around you, especially if you are responsible for anything.  The reason is those who are most disagreeable will tell you what they think and are blunt about it.

One of the best predictors in life is the trait of conscientiousness.  Those folks value hard work, rules, order, reliability, integrity, and structure, so they are dutiful.  Psychologists looked into what best predicts success in the U.S. Army, and unsurprisingly it’s the trait of conscientiousness and overwhelmingly so.

The Army is a very structured, rule-ordered, top-down, follow-procedures institution.  That is what we might expect.  But they also have trouble because they are simultaneously looking for people who can think independently on their feet.  If you are on the battlefield, especially if you are isolated from your unit, there will be times you have to make independent and difficult decisions on your own and do so rapidly.

If you are selected purely based on your conscientiousness, rapid independent thinking will not be your strength.

The best set of traits is a disagreeable person who is conscientious because they will tell you what they think and will do what they say.  These folks can make tough decisions that can be somewhat harsh to move things along for the long term.

If you are soft, you sacrifice the long term for the short term.  If you’re tough and have your head screwed on straight, it means you make tough decisions in the present that will ruffle feathers and make people uncomfortable, but they make the medium to long term better.

You definitely want these disagreeable people around you.  You can trust them to do what is right.


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  1. “55 Rules for a Good Life,” on Amazon (link here).
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Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I provide one article every day. My writings are influenced by great thinkers such as Friedrich Nietzsche, Karl Jung, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Jean Piaget, Erich Neumann, and Jordan Peterson, whose insight and brilliance have gotten millions worldwide to think about improving ourselves. Thank you for reading my blog.

19 thoughts on “You Want Disagreeable People around You

    1. Patriot Wife

      It takes a lot of courage and caring for a leader to surround himself (or herself) with people who are willing to speak up and tell it straight to the leader. Those in the staff or advisor who works with a leader adds great benefit and as such their selection to be on the team should be a carefully considered decision.

      1. Veronica Stillman

        Nailed it with that comment, Patriot Wife. Glad you are here — keep up the good thoughts. ✔

  1. Kenny Foster

    Unexpectedly insightful article. So thanks for that Gen. Satterfield. You website motivates me to get up in the morning, open my email, cruise your website and get a fast does of leadership reality. That is a boost to me as I go thruout the day, managing a 15 person shop of hard workers. It requires skills, determination, & someone who can say “no.”

    1. Brutus

      Exactly why Gen. Satterfield’s blog is my favorite daily leadership read. Nothing better.

  2. DocJeff

    You definitely want these disagreeable people around you (good sentence).
    You can trust them to do what is right (better sentence is: You can trust them to kill the enemy with extreme prejudice). Yeah, now I like that.

  3. Nick Lighthouse

    Excellent article. Made me do something thinking ….. and thinking is hard.

    1. Grover in the Grove

      — and if you dunt dink, you dunt make the army —

      1. anita

        Good one!!!!!!

    2. Pooch T.

      And while thinking is hard, not thinking can get you killed real quick along with your battlebuddies. The army and other military services are always trying to strike a balance between those who will follow the rules (most of the time) and those who don’t give a damn about the rules (at all). That balance is tricky. It’s my understand that Gen. Satterfield is one of those who got the balance right and at the right time could be more conscientious or more disagreeable (or creative).

  4. Dead Pool Guy

    Gen. Satterfield was a little slow getting today’s article out. I hope you are okay, Gen. S. We wouldn’t want you to go down just as you are warming up to be the best leadership blogger out there.

  5. Bryan Z. Lee

    “If you are selected purely based on your conscientiousness, rapid independent thinking will not be your strength.” – Gen. Doug Satterfield

    1. Frontier Man

      Well, army captain, I’m happy that you agree with Gen. Satterfield on this topic. Makes lots of sense to me but I’m not a veteran.

    2. Fred Weber

      The US Army has a long way to go to make up for its wokeness. The first thing that must happen is the jaywalking of Gen. LGBTQ Milley out the door and into prison for his traitorous behavior with the Chinese (he admitted it, wow, such a dumbass). But since Pres Bitme is a traitor too (or just braindead), they are two peas in a pod.


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