Two people in checked shirts leaning over desk with calculators and papers having an argument in professional setting.
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How to have a productive argument at work

26 Jul 2019

Though it may seem counterintuitive, it is not only possible to have a productive argument at work, but it could actually benefit your career.

It may seem like having an argument at work is the last thing you want to do but, if anything, it can be a really productive exercise – when done correctly.

Your opinion and perspective is valuable in the workplace. It’s why you were hired. So if you disagree with a colleague, you should be able to say it.

Not to mention that if you avoid work disagreements too much you risk bottling up your frustrations, which could result in you behaving unprofessionally if these emotions eventually bubble over, or could stifle your creativity by distracting you with stress.

Yet office politics is also very real, and maintaining professionalism at all times is absolutely paramount. Both of these factors mean it is absolutely vital that you handle everything delicately.

First off, you should address conflicts quickly. You should set a goal to resolve the conflict within one week. If you would like to incentivise it further, you could plan a reward for yourself upon resolving the conflict.

Ensure that prior to presenting your side you gather all of the relevant materials, facts and evidence, and organise them in a cogent and concise fashion. If you are discussing budget concerns, for example, get together salient financial reports.

Keep your argument simple. Write down the points you want to make and whittle your selection down to a small handful of powerful and easy-to-grasp elements, and press forward with those as the core structure of your argument.

If you want to be sure that your point of view will be understood, you need to know where the opposition is coming from. Try lightly broaching the topic prior to the official meeting on the matter to get a better feel of their position.

For more tips on how to have a productive argument at work, check out the infographic below, brought to you by

Productive argument at work infographic

Click to enlarge. Infographic:

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Eva Short
By Eva Short

Eva Short was a journalist at Silicon Republic, specialising in the areas of tech, data privacy, business, cybersecurity, AI, automation and future of work, among others.

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