September 15, 2016 | 5 min read
Workplace Disagreement? 5 Ways To Reach A Solution


Even if you’d like to think that you get along with everyone, you may find yourself in a disagreement with a colleague from time to time.  Regardless of the situation, it can be easy to become angry with someone who can’t seem to see a situation through the same lens as you do.  Even if you may be upset, it’s important to approach the situation with delicacy and understanding—after all, you still need to work with this person.  In order to reach a solution with your coworker, follow these steps for effective communication:

Remain calm

If you are upset by the circumstances, be sure that you give yourself a moment to collect your thoughts.  When you try to argue your point angrily, you will be less likely to reach a solution.  Keep in mind that you should have the goal of coming to a solution rather than proving that you’re right; that means that you need to be emotionally prepared for the possibility that the decision may not go your way.

Understand what’s at stake

Be sure that you fully understand what would happen when the decision could go either way.  If the consequences could be drastic, you may want to decide how far you are willing to fight for what you believe is the right decision.  However, if the consequences of losing your argument are mild, you may decide that this is not something on which you should spend your energy.

Understand your coworker’s thought process

In order to move forward and argue your own opinion effectively, be sure that you completely understand your coworker’s reasoning for their position on the issue.  Not only does this mean that you comprehend what they want, but why they want it.  By asking them how they reached their decision, you can grasp the logic behind their choice as well as the supposed consequences as a result.  Once you reach the end of this explanation, you can better formulate your own argument, or perhaps you will even realize that you misunderstood, and you don’t have any issue at all.

Explain your own thought process thoroughly

If you still believe your position is right, be prepared to explain your thought process thoroughly.  Just as it is possible that you misunderstood them, they may have misconstrued what you said.  By taking the time to explain your logic step-by-step rather than getting angry, you’ll be far more likely to get them to understand your point of view.  At this point, now that you’ve laid out both sides clearly, you may be able to decide the best option among the choices.

Work to reach a compromise

However, you may still disagree on the solution even though you understand each other.  If you’ve exhausted your reasoning, continuing to repeat it probably won’t get you very far, and it may even make you angry.  As a result, it’s time to reach a compromise; work together to meet in the middle and find a solution that fits both ideas to the best of your ability.  While it may be difficult to concede, keep in mind that there are more important things in a leader than being told that you’re right.  Without compromise, you won’t have much of a team.

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