Welcome to the Disagree Better Project

The way we disagree has a ripple effect on the health of our relationships, the success of our careers, the extent of our influence, and the caliber of our decisions. Disagree better and accomplish remarkable things.

Dr. Tammy Lenski

When we say we don't like conflict, we often mean that we don't like the ordeal that discord can inflict: How it makes us feel. The way it makes us look to others. The time and energy it consumes. The way it keeps us stuck or alienates us from people who are vital to us at work and home.

But conflict has value: Friction can spark fresh insights and ideas. A clash of ideas can prompt better solutions and higher-caliber decisions. Debate helps us get clearer on our thinking and see things from other perspectives. Conflict -- done well -- can even strengthen a relationship (yes, there's research on this).

So, how do we avoid the harmful parts of conflict without suppressing disagreement, dissent, and debate? That's what the Disagree Better Project is all about.

About the Disagree Better Project

I aim to do a few essential things with the Project:

Share credible information about effectively navigating friction and tension at work and home, sourced from trustworthy research and my two decades as a professional mediator and conflict resolution teacher. This kind of information has been a centerpiece of my newsletter since the beginning in 1999. It will continue and, I hope, be enhanced by my move to Substack.

Explore concrete ways to solve problems without damaging vital relationships. Unlike mediators whose work focuses on helping people separate their lives (such as divorce or separation from work), my focus has always been on conflict between people who will continue to live or work together. This will continue to be the point of what you find here.

Help translate insight into practice. It’s one thing to grasp an idea and another to have something useful come out of our mouths when it matters most. I was a college dean and professor before I became a mediator, and I've always come at conflict from an educator's frame of reference. How do we narrow or close the gap between knowing and doing? I've been chewing over this question for a long while, and the move to Substack is driven mainly by the need for a place with the right tools (all in one place) to work on this with you.

Learn from and with you. While I was donating blood once, a Red Cross nurse slapped her hand on my forehead as though to take my temperature and said, "Wait. Do you mean you seek out conflict for a living? Honey, that is just weird." I have an insatiable curiosity about the human condition and the dance of conflict. The Disagree Better Project is a place where I can hear from you, raise questions and doubts with you, and learn about your experience and insights. I hope it will feel like a place where we can figuratively sit down over coffee together or take a stroll side by side.

About Tammy Lenski

I’ve been helping people disagree better for over 25 years as a mediator, conflict resolution teacher, speaker, and author. I’ve taught conflict resolution in four U.S. graduate programs while in full-time private practice and co-founded the world’s first master’s degree in mediation at Woodbury Institute. My doctorate is in education, and my dissertation work explored influences on behavior. I started my newsletter in 1999, moved it online to my website in 2002, and moved it here to Substack in 2024.

If you’re keen on more, you can find my formal bio here and watch the trailer for my most recent book, The Conflict Pivot, here.

I hike most days with one of our rescue dogs, even through New England's cold and snowy winters. I compete in dog agility with our Sato (Puerto Rican street dog), keep a garden, and am an avid reader. My husband and I have been together for nearly 35 years, with occasional outbreaks of bickering.

Please consider upgrading to a paid subscription

My newsletter has been free for over 25 years. I don’t want access to credible, valuable conflict resolution insights and tools contingent upon economic circumstances.

If you value my work, I hope you will consider a paid subscription. Support like yours acknowledges the hours required each month to continue delivering value, and allows me to put in the time to build deeper dives into disagreeing better.

When you upgrade to a paid subscription, you’ll have access to me through Substack’s interactive features:

  • Bonus articles, resources, and downloads for paid subscribers only

  • Member-only discussion threads

  • Exclusive journaling and conversation prompts, along with discussion about them

  • Member-only question-and-answer area

  • The Vocab(ulary) Lab

I’ve just turned on paid subscriptions, so I’m building some of these options now, and you’ll have founding access.

To keep this project sustainable, I will step away now and then to take a vacation or give myself a break. Thanks for understanding that being present with and for you doesn't mean constantly being present.

If you purchase an annual membership (thank you!), please be aware that I do not offer refunds if you change your mind. I suggest you choose a monthly membership if you’re unsure whether or not the annual plan is right for you.

Subscribe to The Disagree Better Project

Imagine what’s possible when conflict sparks not disengagement and acrimony, but inspiration, progress, and stronger connection.


I help people disagree better.