Can’t We Just All Get Along? Dealing with Argumentative People
We all know people who are argumentative. They always find something to disagree with and seem to make conversations difficult. Sometimes they may argue because they believe in what they are saying, but other times they just argue because they like to hear themselves talk and be the center of attention. If you have to deal with someone like this on a regular basis, it can be emotionally and mentally exhausting. Trying to stay calm when someone is arguing all the time is not easy!
Here are some things you can do to deal better with a person who likes to argue:
The manager’s role is to make employees want to come to work and view it as a positive experience. There are many reasons for motivating an employee:
Happy employees have a high work morale resulting in higher job performance.
A motivated employee contributes to a positive work environment.
If employees are happy, they work together as a team more efficiently.
An employee will be more willing to go the extra mile if there is a crisis at work.
Your employees will respect you and you will have a good reputation.
Employees will care more about the image of their company and its success.
Employees have more personal goals.
Employees will want to stay with the company and move up.
Motivated employees are committed to solving problems
Motivated employees speak well of their company to their friends and colleagues, which is good for business.
If you need input from the argumentative person, be specific and ask only what you need to know.
1. Don’t ask for his opinion because you will be giving him an opportunity to argue. Examples:
John, what did you find out about the __project?
I’ll need your results on phase 1 by Monday morning.
Let me know your thoughts on this project by Friday.
Email me any changes you want to make by the end of the day today.
What are the two best ways we can proceed with this project?
2. Maintain your self-control at all times. The argumentative person likes control and may try to take over the meeting with comments and confrontations. Don’t get caught up in an argument and try to win a point. Say one sentence to diffuse the situation, and then move on!
Statements to avoid saying
Let’s not argue about this.
I don’t want to get into an argument.
I don’t want to argue with you.
Let’s discuss this peacefully.
I’m sure we can resolve this by talking calmly.
It’s better to use diffuse the situation by saying things like the following: Examples:
I understand what you are saying. Next, we need to discuss____.
That’s an interesting way of looking at it. Now, I’d like to show you ______
I see your point. Now, I’d like to continue with the next item on the agenda.
I know what you’re saying. Let’s move on and give updates for our project.
Yes, I know how you feel. Many people feel that way.
I understand you are upset about this. Next, let’s talk about _______
That’s very insightful. We also need to review our results on ________
3. Avoid offending the argumentative person. The argumentative person likes to feel they are in control and are the center of attention. You can still say what you want to say, but you will have to change the words you use so that you are more subtle.
Avoid using sentences like:
You only need to change the last part of your results because they are incorrect.
Just tell us the bottom line, not the details.
We only need you to complete part 1 of the project.
Instead, you will want to say something that confirms what the argumentative person has state
So, the next step we will want to include is___
Just to clarify, these are the changes you feel are important to make:
What we decided was that you would_____
It is your opinion that _____
Of the team’s three choices, you think this one is the best.
4. It’s a good idea to give the argumentative person credit for their decisions.
Your idea of incorporating this strategy was a good one, and we are using it now.
This is the approach you suggested during last Monday’s meeting.
As you suggested, we used your idea on ______
We liked your idea regarding______ so we are implementing it in this project.
We appreciated your feedback regarding _____ and decided to use your idea about ___________