I have worked with someone who, without fail, will always make it a point to say no or contradict something – anything – at every single meeting. Without exaggeration, I’ve never had a conversation with her when she didn’t — even at the most trivial issues.
It gets crazier: Sometimes she will contradict facts or practices already known to mankind, and when corrected, will make up an excuse on why her contradiction is valid. It has gotten so bad that (s)he has been labeled as a a power-tripper, a bitch, a know-it-all. Across the entire company. And that’s saying a lot.
Her team would usually agree to everything she says (to avoid a debate), do things without question even if they know it is the wrong way of doing it, avoid her at all cost, or withhold information that has the slightest chance of being questioned.
Is she a power-tripper? Maybe, maybe not. I don’t think it’s fair to put a label on these kinds of personalities. But I have encountered others like her who believe that contradiction goes hand-in-hand with leadership. Meaning, they feel they have to say no in order to exert their authority. More often than not, they are the my-way-or-the-highway kind, have no problems with confrontations, do not believe in the expertise of others, and most of all, must always be right.
How then do you persuade these kinds of people?
You need to make them appear that a decision is good for them.
You could also make it appear that what you’re discussing with them is their idea all along. Sometimes all you have to do is changing the words you use in explaining a situation.
Remember, the important thing for her is that she needs to right. You need to make her believe it, at the very least.