Handling Workplace Disagreements

Disagreements in the workplace are inevitable. Working in teams promotes collaboration and joint efforts, but it also poses an opportunity for opposing perspectives and opinions. This is not always bad. It can lead to better ideas, methodologies, and opportunities. Follow the tips below to learn how to embrace disagreements and utilize them to your advantage.

Establish Boundaries. Boundaries need to be implemented from the start. Outline and let people know what is acceptable
and unacceptable behavior when voicing opinions and ideas. For example, a boundary could be: “Talk to the person within 24 hours of feeling uncomfortable with what they said.” By doing this, you not only encourage individuals to share their perspectives and feelings, but also minimizes the potential for ineffective conflict.

Be Direct and Give Rationale. If you beat around the bush, it is harder for people to understand your perspective. For example, if your department is enforcing a new policy that has promising benefits, but you notice something that might be counterproductive, bring it up in a direct tone, utilizing examples of how the new policy poses potential difficulties and why it would be beneficial to investigate the issue further. By doing this, you’re more convincing than if you simply state “I don’t like this policy” or “I don’t think the new policy is a good idea.”

Be Committed. Having a different opinion before something is decided is helpful, if you express it. Your thoughts and opinions are as valid as anyone else’s, so use your voice confidently. Even if it doesn’t result in a different outcome, you’ll feel better knowing that you had an opinion and that you shared it.

Be Accountable. Not following the decision, once it has been decided, can be alienating and divisive. Don’t disrupt the peace and workings of the group by not going along with the decided program. You can’t always get your way. Commit to the new normal. Hold yourself and others accountable, as that’s what being a team player is all about!

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