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How do you avoid having arguments?

How do you avoid having arguments at the workplace? You don’t. It all depends how you structure the relationships at your workplace and what are the subjects of controversies. Most importantly: all depends how people treat each other and how they put their arguments forward.It’s actually good to have differences in opinions, constructive criticism, even creative arguments with peers in the office.

As long as conversation is polite, on the point and constructive having arguments proves that you’re open for anyone challenging your point of view, sometimes disagreeing with your logic. I encourage my employees to challenge me, even in a strong manner as long as we both treat ourselves with respect. I do that a lot and I call it healthy.

Far too many times I’ve seen places poisoned with dictatorship and fear of speaking your own mind. Of course such openness comes at a price. You can expect people to do only what they’re told and stay in quiet or speak freely and even leave. In my opinion it’s far better to have people stay because of true conviction and belief in what company does rather than hang around looking down, keeping their mouth shut and waiting for a next pay cheque coming. Work with me and it would never be “just a job” because I don’t believe you should be part of the party because of “just” anything.

If you expect such a high motivation from people you work with you can’t expect everyone to be content with choices the company is making at all times. Therefore the frequency of challenging my points of view works for me as a measure of how much the company opens up for internal criticism. After all people get employed for far more than their particular skill-set. Here’s a secret: I always work with people not because they can do their job fine. It’s rather because every single one I hand picked in my career is smarter than me in at least one respect or another.

Every time I see someone attracting just quiet nodding for too long I know that something is terribly wrong. Every time I see everyone staying put quietly I know that there’s some fear of something in the air. Much more I prefer brainstorming, discussions, exploring different point of views, and yes: even slamming the door, sometimes. Because I tend to work with people that are very smart I see that the openness brings much insight into projects and creates much balanced solutions, very often finding the quicker and/or better ways we get things done.

It really is worthwhile creating great feedback culture in every workplace, or in my case: feedback culture on steroids. Takes an effort. After all it is hard to receive feedback, even harder to provide quality feedback. The hardest however is to get people moving around and get out of their comfort zones, go to another department or a person and be straightforward and honest. Yes, this still involves words that might appear harsh, sometimes, but as long as people are not riffraff to speak their mind, progress in a polite and professional manner things always end up fine.

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