How to have a productive argument at work

Professionalism is nothing without passion.

The instincts and experience that make your opinions unique are highly valuable. Balancing them with your colleagues’ ideas empowers the team to find the best solutions for the challenges and opportunities that arise each day.

And when disagreements arise, a productive argument can result in a better outcome for everyone.

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Healthy debate has proven an excellent way to develop ideas since at least the time of Plato and Socrates. But it has to be done right because when those passions lead to raised voices and blaming, progress grinds to a halt. Most of us don’t know how to make a virtue of differing opinions – so it’s no wonder that 71% of senior managers believe meetings are mostly unproductive.

In fact, productive arguing is a professional skill like any other. Being able to argue your point well is important. Use a reasonable voice and body language to ensure your message is heard and considered by the rest of the team. Also try using statistics and visuals to give your ideas weight.

Just as important is knowing how to listen. Use open questions to learn more about the way the other person sees things. Remember that you’re not here to ‘win,’ but to get the best outcome for the workplace. You may not believe it now, but the other person’s way of seeing things might be the best way forward.

When you embrace the rich diversity of opinions in the office, you’ll be surprised what a positive experience a good argument can be. With this in mind, we’ve created a step-by-step guide on how to have a productive argument at work – from preparing your case to apologizing if you got it wrong.

Avoiding work arguments leads to bottled-up frustrations and makes it hard to truly innovate as a team. Productive arguing is a civilized way to get everybody’s ideas on the table – and work towards a better understanding.

How to have a productive argument at work

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