Win People Over Rather Than Win Arguments

JoA in an argument
Image by Anders V via Flickr

Winning an argument is tempting for most people working in a team. Who does not wish to be right? Who does not want to have the last say and feel victorious? But if your focus is on the team’s progress and not on personal whims, sometimes it is better in the first place not to get into an argument. The best way to get your message across to people is to win them over instead of winning an argument with them.

What happens when you try to win arguments

When you get into an argument with people, they become defensive. Both of you try to assert your point of view without bothering to listen to the other person whether or not he/she is right. This makes both of you even more fixed on your opinions. Arguments never reach a satisfactory conclusion.

You can never achieve the right thing for your team by trying to win an argument and forcing them to accept your views. You may not always be right. And even if you are right, by arguing, you only harm your working relationships.

How arguments affect working relationships with each other

When you argue, you are trying to control the other person’s thoughts, feelings and actions. Nobody likes that. When you are out to prove that you are right, it only provokes the other person. Passive aggression, frustration, and lack of distrust will follow. Some people might not show it outwardly, but they will silently think of how to settle scores.

For the sake of your team, collective goals and healthy working relationships with each other, do not get into arguments. Instead, use the following tips to converse with people and arrive at the right conclusion.

How to win people over rather than winning arguments

1. Stay calm: Maintain your composure when you talk. If you lose it, the talk will turn into an argument.

2. Be Present and Listen: Never interrupt people when they talk. Not only is this irritating to them, but you may also lose out on some useful important point that they may have. Listen intently and acknowledge what they say before putting forth your point.

3. Be logical: Spell out your thoughts in a logical sequence to make them understand your point. Use pauses to allow them to comprehend. Ask “Does this make sense?” to help you check if the other party understands what you say.

4. Find a win-win situation: Try to accommodate some of the valid points that people raise. The challenge is usually to find the things that you both agree on and work on it.In one of my trainings, we practice the 101% principle, this means that sometimes you have to find the 1% we both agree on and give it our 100%.

Ensure that everyone can WIN from the disagreement and how to arrive at the best agreement.

For example, if a team member wants a pay raise and his manager is reluctant, an argument will naturally ensue. But what if the manager agrees on the condition that the team member learns a new skill or hits certain Key Performance Indicators (KPI)? Both will benefit.

Remember, winning a person over is more important than winning arguments. This is because relationships last for a long time while problems are only temporary.

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