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How to disagree at work

Most of us prefer to avoid conflict and for good reason. When we express dissent, we run the risk of being ostracized. But disagreement is too valuable a tool to go unused. As HBR’s Amy Gallo points out, companies that encourage constructive conflict have more satisfied workers and develop more creative ideas. So, how do you get past that fear of conflict? Here’s what Gallo suggests:


  • Aim for respectability, not likeability. Not everyone is going to like you or what you think, and that’s fine. If you’re respectful, you’re on solid ground.
  • People are tougher than you think. You might think you’re being rude or hurtful by disagreeing with a colleague. You aren’t. If you don’t make the situation personal, chances are they won’t either.
  • When in doubt, pretend. If expressing dissent is not in your character, play a different character altogether. Acting the part is sometimes the first step toward living it.

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