It is never easy to overcome disagreements in business. Being part of a team that follows the wrong direction can not only harm the organization itself, it can also destroy your own reputation.
Resolving disagreements in a team is sometimes painful, but necessary to succeed. Below is a list of solutions on how to handle such situations:
1. Set your goals
Making a plan with the objectives of your discussion can give you a full overview of where you are and where you want to go. Putting your goals on paper may seem a bit strange at first, but can enhance your focus in the long term. Despite potentially increasing the efficiency of your conversation, such a list can also be a healthy starting point. Why? Everybody usually agrees on the final goal of the discussion.
2. Don’t be afraid to argue
Due to bureaucracy, hierarchy as well as numerous other reasons, it is usually the case that the larger a company, the harder it is to raise an opinion towards management. Don’t act too diplomatic. Speak out, and speak out loud. In the long term, it won’t work out if your main goal is to be everyone’s best friend. Never be afraid to debate over a topic that can benefit the organization as a whole in the end.
3. Make rational choices
Winning an argument can sometimes get emotional. But even though you may believe in something with all your heart, make rational choices. Don’t forget that you want to solve the problem, not win a fight against your colleague. Once the problem is solved, everybody wins. At any given point, focus on what’s best for the company and leave personal emotions out of the way.
4. Don’t overrule
If one’s idea is simply better than yours and your team is in favour of the idea, don’t overrule. You won’t win against democracy. It might work out once, maybe twice, but it won’t work out in the long run. A good leader listens to his team. If you don’t listen, your own credibility is at stake, and this way you show little or no trust in the creativity of your co-workers. Respect your team’s opinion.
5. Use examples
Sometimes you need to look at an idea from a different angle. Using real-life examples or even metaphors to make your point clear might help. Not for the sake of winning the argument, but to convince your peers. New perspectives enable fresh solutions.
6. Apply the bottom-up approach
As a business leader, don’t be afraid to learn the opinions of lower ranking colleagues. A bottom-up approach can tackle problems which may resolve disagreements, or raise awareness to small problems which may even have a large impact on the company’s operations. Outline the common problems and individual solutions towards the raised issues.
7. Practice acceptance
If someone holds a different opinion, try and understand their point of view. Nothing is less cooperative than acting dismissive towards your co-workers. Don’t rule anything out just because it’s new for you. Practice acceptance to other people’s views, even if you don’t initially agree with them.
While this list may not include all of the possible ways to solve conflicts, they can help you find the right solution. However, one thing is certain: Every great organization needs people who discuss problems in an open, yet respectful manner to make things move forward. As Margaret Heffernan once said that for good ideas and true innovation, you need human interaction, conflict, argument, and debate. Whether as a CEO or as an intern, keep those tips in mind when you debate next time.
- Setting goals is a healthy starting point for a discussion.
- Don’t be afraid to argue; it will help eventually solve a problem.
- Forget the emotions and focus on the end result instead.
- Respect your team’s opinion.
- New examples and perspectives enable fresh solutions.
- Apply the bottom-up approach.
- Practice acceptance to other people’s views, even if you don’t agree with them.
The floor is yours…
How do you handle conflicts in your teams and in your organizations? Did you use any of the tips above? What other tips would you suggest us to follow? Share your insights in the comment section below.