Stay Balanced While Arguing With A Colleague: 7 Ideas That Really Work

stay balanced“If two men on the same job agree all the time, then one is useless. If they disagree all the time, both are useless.”
― Darryl F. Zanuck

Those who work for big corporations spend more time in their office than anywhere else. Tasks are endless, deadlines tight and stress quite high. That all is just part of work. It comes as a package with the nice business card, corporate mobile phone and promises of career growth.

If your colleagues are friendly and you work in warm and cheerful atmosphere, it is really great. You should stick to that place.

But we all know that it does not happen often and in everyday reality there are always at least few pain in the ass clients, problematic colleagues and unbearable bosses.

When employees compete for managerial position and high salary they sometimes forget about ethics and decency. That, plus the work related tension may put you in the center of hot argument.

The good news is that there are several things you can do in order to exit the argument with minimal damage. One of the parties has to be wiser – let that person be you!

Below are few things which helped me in arguments and helped me stay balanced back when I was still part of the corporate world:

1.    Do not get personal

Under no circumstance get into insults and unpleasant personal remarks. Bear in mind that the conflict is work-related and has nothing to do with the person. Never mix work and personal relationships because it will only aggravate the case. By putting a status on your Facebook about the matter you will not only look immature and unprofessional, but also gain enemy out of literally nothing.

2.    Concentrate on the problem/project

While arguing get focused on the problem/project/issue – in short the subject of the argument. Do not drift to the past, speculate on possible scenarios and recall unrelated things. Talk about the topic solely and do not make any remarks about other subjects, which most probably your colleague would like to introduce.

3.    Keep written records (e-mails)

It is very important to be clear about the case. When things get out of control and your boss is mad everyone would like to blame the other. That other can be yourself if you let it happen. So make sure you have a backup and there is an e-mail correspondence in your inbox, which you can print out and present when needed.

4.    Do not discuss the issue in corridors and during lunch breaks

You had the argument, you feel upset and there is a big temptation to pour everything out but don’t. Ever!

5.    Forget

Once the issue is solved forget about it and move on. It will do no good to recall how unpleasant did your colleague behave. After all, you have no choice and will continue working with him/her whether you want it or not. Staying balanced is your only option. If you do not give up the bitterness, it will keep the tension between you two.

6.    Imagine your friend

Theoretically the colleague you are having argument with may be your friend. I am sure that if it’s the case the argument will be solved easily. Most probably the colleague is just a colleague. In that case imagine he/she is a friend. It will help you get rid of the initial natural aggression and evaluate the situation objectively.

7.    Don’t bring it home

Remember that your job is just part of your life and not your whole life. The better part of your life is actually after work. So do not spoil that time by recalling and sharing details of the argument with your partner and friends. It will only bring back negative feelings and decrease the quality of your time spent together. Once out of the office switch yourself off all work related thoughts – be that the argument, the deadline or tomorrow’s to-do list.

Hopefully this will help you look lighter at your next argument and take things easy to stay balanced.

What are your experiences? Would you like to share your tips?

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13 Responses

  1. Priska says:

    Great advice. Must admit that I adhered to all of these rules whilst in the workforce except for number 7. My poor partner had to listen to my woes after work because I had to let off steam somehow so I could face up to things again the next day in a professional manner.

  2. Bobbi Emel says:

    Good tips, Ani. I especially like how you emphasized not to grow the problem by talking about it in corridors and break rooms. That just gets everybody involved and distorts a private conflict out of proportion.

  3. Not that I am one to shy away from conflict but I would rather not argue with co-workers (well with anyone)

    I would rather sit down and get to the root cause as soon as possible and then leave it behind.

  4. Wow – wish I read this years ago. I now work in a wonderful environment with professional, friendly people that was always the case. It’s hard to turn off your feelings at 5pm but letting them eat at you hurts you in the end. I had many sleepness nights rehashing events and eventually had to learn to let go to save my sanity. Great tips.

    • Ani says:

      Jane – sorry for the delay… It appears that I have to look i spm folder from time to time cause in some magical way your commends had ended up there…

      Working in friendly environment with wonderful people is very good luck!
      :)

  5. Kaylee says:

    I like these tips, Ani. Luckily, I’ve never really argued with someone at work, but these are helpful to remember in any argument.

  6. Claire says:

    Great points Ani. Another thing that is often helpful is to try to see things from the other person’s point of view. And with email I’ve found it best not to press send when I am upset. Sometimes a 24 hour wait is a good chance to see whether emotion is clouding what I’ve written

  7. Mark says:

    Great suggestions. I find the best method to not argue with people is to realize that everyone’s opinions are valid so there is no reason to argue if you are both essentially correct. After all, an argument based on an opinion which is based on a single perspective is going to be right, even if it is in direct contradiction with what the next person’s argument says, since the second person’s opinion is also based on a single perspective. With 7 billion-ish perspectives in the world, you’re bound to wind up with a few that don’t agree. :-) Unity through diversity of opinion, I say! :-)

  8. Amit Amin says:

    Oh…. this is hard advice to follow.

    When I get mad and into an argument (which is super rare – like once every other year), I want to grab the other persons face and bash it against the wall, and then pickup their limp body and throw it out the window.

    Hehe. It’s a good thing I don’t get mad that often :)

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    on the computer – you should read about Bucksflooder first

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