Handling Disagreements at Work
In today’s social climate, it’s clear that we don’t all agree. But what happens when a contentious point arises in the office? Keep office disagreements friendly with the following tips, and scroll to see where the Innovative Publishing team agrees and disagrees.
1. Actually listen. When you have a strong opinion about something, it can feel next to impossible to try to listen to the other side. In the case of an office disagreement, you’ll need to keep a positive working relationship, so try to keep an open mind and open ears. Listening means more than just being quiet. Many of us tune out while another person is speaking, while we’re actually just planning what we’ll say next.
2. Pick your battles. It can be tough to just let something go. But if you find yourself constantly instigating discussions, it may be time to step back and take the long view. To help gain some perspective when you’re feeling heated, ask yourself if the issue at stake will matter in five minutes, five hours or five days. If it won’t, it may be wise to take a few breaths and let the issue slide, instead of potentially damaging your relationship with a coworker over something inconsequential.
3. Agree to disagree. In a workplace disagreement, it’s important to maintain professionalism and emphasize that disagreements are not personal. If an argument arises, there will be no winner — a damaged working relationship means a loss for both of you. Try to hear the other person out and respectfully change the subject. If you’re having trouble moving past it, or you feel the disagreement is affecting your coworker’s or your ability to work, it may be time to involve your supervisor or your company’s HR department.
At Innovative Publishing, our team is close-knit and works together to advance our clients’ messaging. But we don’t see eye-to-eye on everything, as you can see in the (anonymous) survey responses below!
Which way should toilet paper hang on the roll?
What do you call a carbonated beverage?
Soft drink 8.3%
Which is better: pancakes or waffles?
Does pineapple belong on pizza?
“Yes! The flavor contrast between sweet and salty is delicious.”
“Yes! Not a fan of meat on pizza.”
“Yes! Because any topping you love belongs on pizza, no matter how ‘weird’ it is. That’s the beauty of pizza.”
“Yes, but only cheese and pineapple; no other toppings on the same slice.”
“It can belong there! (There is room for sweet toppings in the breadth of pizza options.)”
“Nope. I do not want a fruity pizza.”
“Nah. It’s lame and soggy.”
When you need to get ahold of a friend, should you call or text?
“Text. I consider a call a sign something is very wrong and demands immediate attention. Also, if you text someone saying you need to talk, please clarify whether it’s urgent or serious.”
“Calling me is the most jarring and unsettling thing a person can do. When someone calls me, I feel very panicked and often ignore the call. I will respond later with a text asking what they need. On behalf of introverts and millennials around the world, I’m begging you to just send a text.”
“Texting is more convenient for everyone involved because it allows you to respond on your own time. If it is urgent though, I would call, so if anyone calls me, I am expecting that something bad has happened.”
“It depends on the age of the person I’m trying to reach, but usually I text first. Pretty much all my close friends are introverts with crazy work hours, so texts are just the right way to start on a conversation for people like us. 🙂 We usually text to arrange a good time for a ‘real’ phone call.”
“Urgent? Call. Casual? Text.”
“If I need something important or quickly, I would call because I feel like people are more likely to answer a call. They can ignore a text for as long as they want!”
“Call — If it is urgent, I can talk and get to the point a lot faster on the phone than through text.”
Is a hot dog a sandwich?
“No. I think the direction of the toppings matters. Toppings layered between the bread in a vertical stack? Sandwich. That is why hot dogs and tacos aren’t sandwiches, because they are eaten horizontally.”
“No. Just no.”
“A hot dog is not a sandwich. A sandwich, according to dictionary.com, is ‘an item of food consisting of two pieces of bread with meat, cheese, or other filling between them.’ Hot dogs use a single bun, putting them into their own category of food (see also: calzones).”
“No, it is a class of its own. You don’t grill out and have a sandwich, it’s a hot dog for sure.”
“No. Technically, it only has one piece of bread. A sandwich needs two pieces … right?”
“No. Sandwiches have lunch meat or salad in them. If you say ‘sandwich,’ your mind pictures lunch meat, not a burger, not a quesadilla, not a grilled chicken sandwich from Wendy’s, and not a hotdog. I don’t know of anyone who uses “sandwich” to refer to anything other than a lunch meat sandwich — even salad sandwiches are specified as egg/chicken salad sandwiches.”
“My instinct is no, but I suppose it meets all the requirements.”
“I think it’s more like a sandwich than not like one … kind of like a narrow Penn Station sub.”
“Yes. It’s meat and toppings between two pieces of bread. Formula met.”
“Guess what? A hamburger is a sandwich too!”
Here are some other (un)popular opinions from the Innovative Publishing team:
“GIF is pronounced with a J sound. The creator of the format said so. Even though the creator of something isn’t always the person with the most logical opinion (see almost everything J.K. Rowling has said post-Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows), I just think it sounds better.”
“Gif is pronounced with a G sound, not a J.”
“I don’t care about comic book movies. I think they’re boring and predictable and there’s way too many of them.”
“Tobey Maguire is the best Spiderman.”
“Always stay calm, critically think about and evaluate all sides of an argument (especially the side you don’t agree with).”
“There are fewer things more enjoyable in life than a perfectly organized Excel spreadsheet.”
“White can be worn any time of year, even after Labor Day.”
Meg Kennedy is an editor at Innovative Publishing. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.