What To Do When ... You Have a Disagreement With a Colleague

Published on 31/08/2021


Let’s be honest, it’s not possible to get along with everyone, all of the time. Maybe you’re having a bad day and you snap at someone without meaning to. Perhaps you disagree about an idea you’re debating around the boardroom table. 

Whatever the reason, to disagree with colleagues is normal from time to time. However, does that mean you need to allow it to spiral into a full-blown workplace conflict?

Certainly not. 

If you have a disagreement with one of your colleagues, you need to handle it in a specific way, to avoid a worsening situation. Here are a few tips to help you out, in what can sometimes be a frustrating situation. 

  • Take a moment to calm down - Do not attempt to talk about the issue when you’re feeling angry or upset. Go somewhere calm, perhaps go and sit in the office booths, and take five minutes to yourself. Head outdoors if you can as the fresh air will work wonders. 
  • Remember that everyone is entitled to their opinion - Remind yourself that every single person is allowed their opinion, just as you are. You don’t have to agree on everything. 
  • Seek out the bigger picture - Remember the overall team aim. That is bigger than a small disagreement. 
  • Speak to your colleague when you’re both calm - Don’t try to speak to your colleague while you’re both experiencing heightened emotions. Once things are calm, ask if you can have a quick chat and remember to avoid pointing the finger of blame or reigniting the issue. 
  • Agree to disagree - Just agree to disagree on this one. Again, not everyone can agree on everything! 
  • Let the situation go - Once you’ve addressed the issue, let it go. Don’t bring it up again. 

Whether you’ve disagreed over something in a collaborative session or you had an argument while sitting at your office desk, it’s important to overcome such issues to avoid a major conflict in the office. For the most part, you should be able to put your differences aside and solve the problem. However, if you find that you can’t do that, you may need to approach your manager to act as mediator, to finally put the issue to rest. 

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