How to Disagree at Work the Right Way


When you spend the majority of the day with someone or a group of people, it’s bound to happen. Something is going to rub someone the wrong way, tempers are going to flair and an inevitable verbal shootout will take place. You might think that disagreeing with someone might escalate the situation, but that’s only because you are doing it wrong. 

 See Also: How NOT to Avoid Conflict in the Workspace

Here’s how to disagree at work the right way.

1. Shoot Down

The worst thing you can do when disagreeing with someone at work is to completely disregard/shoot down their opinion. Try instead to validate their point of view with a “That’s a great idea! We should definitely offer people money to tattoo our corporate logo on their body!” then add your perspective to the conversation. You can say “We could also pay people money to put magnetic stickers on their cars with our corporate logo which means we can get even more exposed!” If your idea is significantly better than the person’s initial idea, they will relinquish their idea willingly without feeling coerced or disenfranchised.

2. Articulate

talking and gesticulating

This is especially true if your argument/conversation is becoming heated. More often than not, during a heated exchange, people will start arguing for the sake of arguing without really making a point and in extreme cases, this will escalate into character assassination with phrases such as “Well you’re a poopy head”. Not only are insults counter-productive but they can even hurt your argument, discrediting your point of view…yes, even though he/she is a poopy head and their idea is just as crappy, I don’t make the rules, I just write about them.

3. Investigate

No matter how insane or asinine the other person’s idea is, in their mind it makes sense and honestly, the best way to disagree at work is not to disagree at all. Try to peel back the layers of their insanity and truly uncover their reasoning behind the idea they are proposing (and you are disagreeing with). Yes, even if the idea is a result of abusing cough and allergy medicine. You could never win an argument like that…I mean, how would you respond to “The human sized grasshoppers I consulted with last night said it’s a solid idea…and they’re usually right when I see them in my fever dreams”.

4. Listen


Sometimes the reason you disagree is because you didn’t quite understand what the other person was trying to say. Try to really listen to what is being said, just like the first entry on this list; hearing the other person’s point of view might convince you that their idea isn’t that bad. Let’s use the “pay people to tattoo our corporate logo on their bodies” as an example. You might have missed the crucial temporary tattoo, part of the conversation which makes- a still absurd idea, a little more feasible. Yes, it’s still an insane idea, why not use the money to traditionally advertise or pay yourself a bonus? You didn’t get the last suggestion from me though.

Do you have any other tips that can help you disagree in a good way at work? Let us know in the comments section below.