The curious case of disagreements at work. And, how to overcome them.

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Disagreements at work — everyone has his own point of view of look at things. That’s why disagreements arise. If not handled well, these disagreements can lead to dire consequences for the organization.

But, what’s the science behind these disagreements? Why do they arise at work? And, when they arise, what’s the best way to deal with them?

If you want your business to thrive, then you need to find answers to these questions. Plus, you need to make sure that these disagreements do not become toxic for your team.

Being a manager, I’ve always tried my best to ensure that people in the team maintain harmony. This is not to say that people in my team don’t disagree on anything. But, what I am trying to say here is that we must take care of them. Before they become too big to put a negative impact on the team.

I would like to share some of those ideas, which I use to maintain teams in a state of peace. And, I am sure even you can enjoy their benefits . Take a look -

Is there a real disagreement?

Most of the times, what seems as a disagreement is just the misinterpretation. For instance, last week I noticed two of my team members were arguing over a simple verbal miscommunication. The first person was saying they won’t be able to deliver the project til Saturday. The second person was saying they won’t be able to deliver it for at least three more days.

But, the funny thing was they were both talking about the same date. Saturday was not until three days. While they were nagging each other. And, arguing over this small fact. They completely forgot the whole point of arguing over something. Maybe one person was trying to prove a point and prove the other wrong. Or, whatever the case may be.

The whole point behind sharing this example is to make you understand that disagreements are not present for real, always. It is our aggression or maybe the thinking to prove the other person wrong that takes over. And, we are hell bent upon arguing rather than letting common sense prevail.

Agree to disagree

Disagreement does not always mean that you are wrong and the other person is right. It just means that both people in the discussion have their own point of views about the same thing. And, those point of views do not match with each other. We all know what happens when two people with different point of views discuss over something. That’s what we call — Disagreement. This disagreement can turn and further end up causing grudges. After all, we humans are emotional beings.

How to tackle when such a situation arises in the team? As a manager, you need to inculcate the feeling in your team members that they cannot be right all the time. When a person with a different perspective puts forth his point of view, it does not mean that he’s trying to prove you wrong. It only means that he/she is bringing a new perspective to the project. Something, which perhaps no one in the team would have ever thought of.

Who knows this new perspective might actually be better than the way you’ve been working in the past?

Don’t go in with a point of view

You can handle disagreements without causing any mayhem. But, the problem is when the person who is here to solve the problem comes in with a point of view. The problem becomes even worse when that point of view is already in favor of someone. This might lead to a situation where the other person might think of getting a biased decision. And, such a situation in the longer can break the team.

As a leader, as a manager, you cannot afford to be biased if you want to get your team to stick together. This is the reason why when it comes to handling disagreement at work, you need to go with an empty mind. Leave all your personal point of views behind.

A great way to do this is to inculcate the habit of active listening. Talk to both the parties who are at the opposite at ends of the disagreement. Listen to their thoughts and take a decision based on that. As a matter of fact, sometimes even your point of view might not agree with what’s right in the scenario. But, you’ve got to say what’s right and not what your personal views are.

Maintain your emotional intelligence

Like I’ve said earlier, we humans are emotional creatures. It is quite easy for us to flow in the emotions. But, that’s the biggest mistake to make when you are dealing with workplace conflicts. You have to be lucid with your judgement, and not let emotions take over. Because, emotions when they take over they force a person to make false judgements.

This is the reason why emotional intelligence has emerged as an important area of research. Scientists are looking to figure out how our brain reacts, when it is under stress. How do emotions impact our nerve cells? And, what makes us lose our common sense when we are in a condition of emotional stress?

As a matter of fact, organizations are now offering trainings for the same to their employees. This helps them to ensure that their resources are able to cope up with work pressure. And, they don’t end up taking the wrong decisions. Or, don’t end up creating conflicts over small things. When they can avoid those situations by keeping their emotions under control.

At the end of it, leave everything behind

Disagreements can turn into grudges and give rise to the feeling of hatred between the team. Over the time these grudges can spread negativity within the team. It can divide them into groups. And, I’m sure no one would ever want to work in such an atmosphere. Would you?

So, how to make sure that there are no grudges between team members? It’s quite simple — leave those disagreements behind!

Suppose you are the manager of the team and you see there is conflict of opinion between two team member. You decide to get them together over the table and solve the situation. Everything is sorted gleefully, but the person who was at the receiving end of it did not leave it behind. He took it on a personal basis, and it hurt the team to a real bad extent?

The best way to avoid such a scenario is to inspire the team members to leave their grudges behind. When they are moving out the meeting room after the discussion, they must forget about it. Make them understand that they are not fighting a battle within themselves. They are fighting a battle with time, and with client requirements. And, need to focus in accordance to that!

Disagreements are bound to happen when different people are working together as a team. And, it is quite natural for these disagreements to arise. But, the key lies in being able to manage these conflicts in a graceful manner.

I hope that these tips will help you become better at managing disagreements at work. All the best!


Vartika Kashyap is a seasoned marketing professional who is an expert in digital marketing and entrepreneurship. She’s been featured among LinkedIn’s Top Voices for the year 2016. She currently runs the marketing team at ProofHub — a project management software for teams of all sizes. Connect with Vartika on LinkedIn, Medium and Twitter.


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Chief Marketing Officer@ProofHub. Featured writer on LinkedIn. Contributor at Elearning Industry, Dzone, Your Story and

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