What NOT To Do When You Disagree with Your Coworkers
There’s always going to be potential for conflict at work. You depend on your teammates to get the work done, you need to communicate even though you might have different styles and you likely have different backgrounds or points of view. It’s going to happen.
Don’t make it worse by doing these things:
Attacking someone’s personality traits: Basic behaviors that are part of anyone’s personality are not likely to change. Focusing on that isn’t productive and it can be hurtful.
Interrupting others: No one likes to be cut off when they’re trying to say something. It’s rude and makes them feel like what they have to say isn’t important.
Insisting you’re right: Imposing your own set of values on others and being unwilling to be open and flexible is a sure way to escalate the problem.
Getting emotional: Releasing your hair-trigger temper on someone isn’t going to make them more willing to see things your way. Shouting or getting out-of-control makes it impossible to resolve the issue.
Avoiding the issue: Sometimes it may seem that the best approach is to say nothing, when a conflict arises. That may work the first time, but over time, tension builds up and becomes a festering wound. Stonewalling someone by refusing to talk or listen creates hard feelings.
Taking sides: It doesn’t help to recruit other team members to take your side and gang up on another co-worker. Bullying isn’t a solution and claiming “everyone agrees with you” isn’t useful, either.
Repeating gossip: If you don’t know what you’re saying is 100% true, don’t repeat it. If you weren’t there and don’t know the facts, stirring up trouble isn’t the way to go.
Blaming others: It’s easy to point fingers when something happens. Own up to your own mistakes and take responsibility. Don’t throw your team members under the bus.
Not Listening: Nothing’s worse than trying to explain your position to someone and they simply won’t listen. They’re too busy rehearing what they’re going to say next and not hearing you.
Doing nothing: Once you’ve made some headway and agreed to take steps to resolve the issue, you then do nothing to change. No follow-through is another way to show disrespect for the resolution of the issue.
Being defensive: Denying you have anything to do with the conflict shows an unwillingness to understand the other person’s point of view. That will get you nowhere.
Overgeneralizing: An easy way to blow something completely out of proportion is to make sweeping generalizations. Saying things like “you always,” and “you never” just increases the conflict.
There’s always going to be potential for conflict in the workplace. You spend a lot of time together and often depend on each other to get the job done. How you deal with it is a huge factor in whether or not it becomes a larger problem. Be open, flexible and respectful of others and avoid the behaviors that cause problems to escalate.