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Job: My colleagues are always arguing about who is right


Sybille is annoyed: her colleagues are constantly arguing, nobody wants to listen. The bosses don't mind. Can she help the team get into a more constructive mode?

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Photo: Niels Blaesi / DER SPIEGEL

Sybille, 42, architect, asks: »My colleagues are constantly arguing about who is right, which is not only extremely annoying, but also creates unhealthy competitive behavior that massively disrupts the work processes.

However, the executives believe that everything is fine and that competitiveness is a good motivator.

It's unbelievable that adult and (actually) intelligent professionals spend their days trying to make their counterparts wrong.

I don't want to be dragged in.

But I would very much like to share your answer with my colleagues to keep things calm around here!«

Dear Sybille,

a wise decision that you don't want to get involved and a good idea to reply to your colleagues with this post.

Such situations are also thankless for managers, because one of the parties may feel vindicated, while the other feels that they have been treated unfairly.

Before we discuss how to deal with a boss, let's look at what right and wrong actually are.

The traffic light is red or green, is objective.

However, the question of which color was run over is usually a subjective perception.

Today it is no longer left to the naked eye, but to modern speed cameras that accurately determine the real status quo and are therefore objective.

On the other hand, if you ask five pedestrians what color the car drove through the traffic light when it was just changing from green to red, you might hear different opinions.

And a discussion about right and wrong can break out.

If you know that the driver of the blue car had to give up his driver's license several times because he was way too aggressive, you will probably see him as a traffic hooligan.

On the other hand, if you knew that the gentleman in the blue car is the most law-abiding person imaginable, then this preliminary information could also influence your perspective.

How often do we believe that our subjective view is ultimately correct and claim to be absolutely right?

How often do we remain rigid in our opinion and are even willing to make the other person wrong?

Why do people argue about different opinions and perspectives?

Maybe because there are subjective approaches?

Instead of arguing about such "inexplicable" things, shouldn't we just learn to accept that there are different opinions?

Few things can be considered objective

The mostly pointless discussion about right and wrong can go on indefinitely, unless one of the parties gives in.

"You're right and I'm in peace!" Who doesn't know this saying, which is usually accompanied by a smug smile.

There's something to it: if we don't insist on our rights, we'll get our peace in return.

Nevertheless, the approach is not suitable for avoiding a conflict about right or wrong, but creates an uneasy mood on both sides.

It can be assumed that this will lead to a smoldering conflict that will remain untied like a shoelace.

We know about the risk of untied shoelaces when running: at some point we will trip over them.

Why do we actually argue about ambivalent opinions?

One variant is that the other person violates our sense of justice and our values ​​and we defend ourselves.

Or your own opinion is mistakenly regarded as objective.

Behind every conflict there is an unmet need or interest.

And these express themselves through feelings.

If everyone took responsibility for their own feelings instead of blaming others for their own suffering, the question of right and wrong would be over.

How we try to be right

As a rule, wordy and tricky arguments are presented, data and facts are quoted, but only those that underline one's own opinion.

In such a case, how many times have you listened carefully to your counterpart and then admitted that he was right and you were wrong?

And how many times have you thought he can skip his wordy elaboration because you weren't ready to listen anyway?

In an argument about right or wrong, there are simple questions to ask yourself rather than sparring:

• What does that have to do with me?

• What is the goal of this conflict?

• What is it really about?

How often do we accuse the other party of insisting on his rights and not even realizing that we are doing exactly the same thing - otherwise there would be no counterpart after all.

What's so difficult about simply agreeing to disagree on this matter - and be allowed to disagree, at least when the issues or issues are not important.

Because, unfortunately, far too often valuable life time is wasted arguing about subjective opinions.

If you're dealing with a notorious know-it-all and you're tired of putting up with his lectures, there's a simple trick: respectfully ignore them.

"That's the way it goes?

Yes, that could be the case..." - Listen respectfully and, if the situation allows, show the right-holder that you are not interested in their opinion.

Dear Sybille, Unfortunately, those involved often do not realize that they are having a useless argument, especially when this type of argument has long since become part of everyday life.

Try this simple idea: cut out a traffic light.

Every time your co-workers start arguing about who's right again, hold up the traffic light.

This draws the attention of colleagues to their behavior.

Maybe you show them the red traffic light, which should tell them: This discussion is pointless.

A green light could mean: Let's talk about this important topic together instead of delivering an unstructured exchange of blows where nobody is listening.

If you make the green traffic light a team task, the conflict can constructively weld the team together.

Good luck and all the best!

Source: spiegel

All business articles on 2023-01-30

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