Disagreements are often given a negative connotation because they can lead to disruption and conflict. However, if managed appropriately, disagreements can be healthy as differing opinions can bring different perspectives and creative solutions to improve the organization. The overall goal is to help the organization and the team succeed, and everyone is going to have different opinions on how to do that. With proper management and a good company culture, this should lead to healthy discussions which is essential to success in a company.

Create an environment open to opinion and disagreements

Disagreements come down to differing opinions. To be productive as a team, there needs to be a culture that makes employees feel comfortable expressing their opinions in a professional and healthy manner. Encouraging employees to discuss opinions, even if they are in disagreement, is how action items are started, innovation is pushed and projects get completed. Of course, there needs to be an understanding of how to handle disagreements. They should not be taken to the point of hostility nor should they be taken personal. There needs to be an understanding that they are differing opinions and ideas to work towards a common goal.

Successful disagreement negotiation

Try to keep emotions and anger out of your professional disagreements. Keep in mind that the common goal the team is working towards and aim for a resolution to bring that will that goal to life. Don’t let emotions make your disagreement feel personal. Keep it factual and based off of your experience. Try to understand the other person’s opinion. What experiences does your counterpart have that is bringing them to that idea? Break down the issue that you are trying to solve and the goal you are working to achieve. Discuss concerns and steps that need to take place. See if there is a common ground to work with or a middle ground that can be met. Leave judgement out and make room for ideas and understanding. In the end, the goal is not to win the disagreement. It is to clear the air and work towards the common goal. Seek to find agreement to find resolution. Don’t get hung up on the problem.

Disagreements in the workplace can initially seem like an issue. However, if it is made into a productive conversation, that allows people to state their opinions and ideas to work together, it can be beneficial. Make room for ideas, opinions and allow for discussion to understand other team members. Leaders should aid in handling disagreement professionally and positively. Disagreements are bound to happen, how they are handled well, it can help create a healthier and more productive team.

-Written by Brooke Hughes: Researcher for Chemical Recruiters