I am going to go out on a limb and say, 100% of all working individuals will have one or more disagreements with another coworker throughout their careers. This applies to all professions. Alright, so I do not have any hard data and research to back that last statement up. However, I do have my personal experience just as all of you do. Think back through all the years and jobs you have had, I bet you can think of at least one instance where there was a disagreement between you and another coworker. If not, then I will throw you into the 1% margin of error that I just incorporated into my statement above!
In my opinion, there is one common element to every profession and that is they all contain human beings. We all come with a unique personality coupled with experiences learned from the number of years that each of us has been alive. These experiences are derived from two avenues, personal and professional. Let me make some clarification on the definition of professional experiences. Just because you do not report to a company venue or draw a paycheck from an employer, does not mean you are excluded from receiving professional experiences. For instance, it is my belief that if you are a stay-at-home mom or dad, you are accumulating all sorts of professional experiences that could be applied to many different positions. Think about that responsibility and what that person must be able to coordinate, plan, and execute every single day. Think about how many times a day or hour their plan changes and they must readjust and execute in a completely different direction. This group of individuals is highly underrated by employers in other professions when it comes to these folks wanting to change “professions” when and if they decide to. More times than not, they are scrutinized for having “no work experience.” You have a group of people here who know how to plan, coordinate, change direction, devise alternative plans, execute, and expect change at any moment. These are skills you would be looking for in a supervisor or manager. Would you not agree?
Back to my point, human beings are unique, with all sorts of experiences. They are also wrapped up in a big cocoon of emotions. Let’s face it, when things don’t go our way, or the way we “think” they should go or the way we were “told” they were supposed to go, we are on a train destined for a “heated moment.” Some of us will be on the fast track others will be on the slow track and then there is the group that will board neither train or remains at the depot (neutral).
Disagreements in the workplace happen. And typically, they get worked out with some communication between the individuals involved coming to an agreeable resolution at which point all parties go about their day. When disagreements turn into heated moments it is not because of the subject of discussion. It is because one or both parties have an underlying condition for which they are unable to maintain control. What is it? Emotion.
The inability to control your emotions in the workplace is almost the certainty of termination regardless of what profession you work in. There is no reason whatsoever to escalate a disagreement into a heated moment. A moment where voices are raised, necks are red and bulging, tempers flaring, and your professional and friendly vocabulary turns into words that would make a sailor blush.
I always expect from the inspectors I work with to be professional and exercise a professional demeanor with everyone they meet regardless of what the circumstances are. If you find yourself in a situation and it is clear that a resolution is not going to be met then excuse yourself with the ending comment along the lines that you both should seek your supervision for input on how you should proceed. Professional demeanor during conflicts within the workplace is crucial and expected. If you are unsure of your capabilities in resolving a disagreement in the workplace then I highly advise you to seek guidance from your supervisor on how you should proceed.
I caution inspectors about getting into disagreements in the field. I remind them that everyone is to be treated professionally even if someone is out of line. Inspectors, as do everyone else have a choice when something cannot be resolved. They can take the issue to their supervisor and let them resolve it. This does two things for the inspector. It allows him or her to maintain their professional demeanor and secondly, it protects them from losing their job. If you engage in unprofessional behavior in the workplace your supervisor should reprimand you at the very least with a warning of if it happens again you will be terminated. If your behavior is extremely unprofessional expect harsher consequences.
There is no excuse that justifies a disagreement to escalate into a heated moment. Not one. If you are a person who has difficulties in controlling your emotions, whatever they may be, I strongly advise that you seek avenues and information to assist you with better control. Confrontation within the workplace is never a good thing and absolutely nothing positive comes from it. If you find yourself in over your head trying to find a resolution to a disagreement, take the “high road” and step away. Call your supervisor. At the end of the day and when you are on your way home, you will thank yourself for making that call. If you have others who depend on you to provide for them, they will be thankful too. Remember, you have choices. I hope you make the choice to remain at the depot.
Take care and be safe!