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NextGen Magazine


Two Things to Consider When You Disagree with a Coworker (or Anyone)

Jason Wong
Published Date:
Jun 3, 2016

ArguingUnless you’re a sole practitioner committed to an isolationist policy, you’ll have to work with others throughout your career as a CPA, and odds are, you’ll disagree with someone over how something ought to be done in that time. Workplace disagreements can spiral out of control if you’re not careful, and it’s important to know how to make sure you don’t burn any bridges. After all, both you and your coworker(s) want whatever you’re working on to succeed. Here are a couple things to consider in how you approach your disagreement from Fortune, and how you can make your point without putting someone on the defensive:

Directness. It’s best to be direct while still being tactful. While it might seem counterintuitive, the more explicit your disagreement is, the better. Your differences of opinion should be clearly articulated, and the focus of the discussion. That way you can address the problem together, and nobody has to be offended by perceived sarcasm, whether it’s real or imaginary.

Intensity. The way you articulate your concern is also something to consider. Stonewalling, making implied threats (i.e. “Your way will lead us to financial ruin!”), name-calling or playing the blame game will only make you come off as undermining or too aggressive. Conversely, if you’re passive aggressive or defensive, your point may not come across and the misunderstanding could lead to even more trouble.