In any workplace there will be disagreements between colleagues. After all, everyone has their own personal and professional background, favoured practices and experiences.
But how do you manage the discussion when it starts getting more heated? Follow these tips on how to hold a discussion effectively and productively to ensure it is a win for both sides.
1. Never ignore the conflict
The first step is to recognise the need for a discussion. If a colleague questions your ideas and suggests their own, discuss it.
You do not have to defend your idea until the very end. Ignoring the conflict is not the best approach.
If you allow other people undermine you, your ideas will never be acknowledged by those whom you want them to be heard by.
2. Listen to feedback and be honest with yourself
Learn to accept feedback and criticism from your colleagues even if the truth hurts. Don’t think too much about saving your reputation if the criticism is valid and your proposal needs adjustment.
Validate their point of view and tell them you will think about what to do next. If you believe your colleague’s arguments are flawed, you need to address the issue to ensure a better outcome.
Take as much time as you need to think over all the ideas and feedback. Consider the merits before taking the next step to push on with the discussion.
3. Don’t take things personally and emotionally
We all can be passionate about certain ideas.
Do your best to stay calm and try not to take criticism as a personal attack. But if you think your colleague is crossing the line do not be afraid to say so.
Tell the person their remarks were uncalled for and ensure the discussion remains civil. If the person persists, stand your ground and make your point to ensure the situation does not go from bad to worse.
It is also important to keep the discussion on track by following these ground rules:
- No name calling or personal attacks.
- Do not ask questions that cast judgement on other people.
- Give the benefit of the doubt if you think their intentions are good.
- There is nothing wrong if someone changes their mind for a good reason.
Compliment those who carry the group and discussion forward.
4. Recognise when compromise is needed for a better outcome
Sometimes when a decision has to be made, compromise is needed for the best outcome. But do not compromise merely to placate a colleague who is making a fuss.
If no middle ground can be found among the choices at hand, find a mediator to de-escalate the situation instead of making a weak compromise that might not produce the best outcome.
5. Respect the final decision
Once a final decision has been made, everyone involved must support it and give their best to ensure success.
If the final decision rests on you, you must be decisive when the time comes.
This is the least you must do for everyone to be able to show some support, especially if your decision does not sit well with them.
Brief everyone involved about your plan in terms of how and when you will re-evaluate it. Most importantly, you need to ensure everyone is on the same page before moving on.
This article first appeared in jobstore.com
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