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Submitted by williamelledgepe on


What do I do after having a contentious conversation with a peer?

I was in a workshop with a peer and his staff.  My peer was proposing a process I feel wastes time and money.  We were polite, but it was heated - and long lasting.  We left the meeting with no agreement - other than meeting again in a week or so to finish discussion about agenda items we didn't get to.  He agreed to double check some facts.  At the conclusion, I said I am sure we can find common ground and create a solution from there.

Any thoughts on followup to make sure this doesn't fester?

We were both promoted recently and there is a re-org pending so we are also starting to bicker about resources and projects.  This could easily get out of hand.

We are both High D's (I am a High D High C).  

I don't know if the presense of his staff is relavent or not - seems like it may be - we all know each other very well; some of his staff used to be my staff until my peer and I were recently promoted (my peer has to backfill my old position).  

JonathanGiglio's picture
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Congratulations - you're human. It happens to the best of us.

My advice, think long term - and it sounds like you already have. I assume you both report to the same boss. And you might be in a situation where you both have to discuss it in from of him. Preparation will serve you well here. Make sure you believe that it's the right decision for the company and not in the personal interest of the final state of your reorganization.

And, keen observation on his staff's presence. Of course people become more invested in the outcome when they "have something to prove". Once again though, don't let that dissuade you from making the right decision for your organization.

Finally, don't forget to keep in mind your relationships. Is this an opportunity to provide support so that support may be given to you in the future? Check out the Doing Favors podcast.

Good luck!

mrreliable's picture

I think you already took the necessary approach to make sure it doesn't fester. It sounds like you both said what was on your mind. Festering usually occurs when one or both people hold back what they really think because they're trying to avoid conflict. It sounds like you had a scuffle, but you say you were polite, which tells me nobody said or did anything disrespectful to the other.

If you can have an argument, even a heated one, without things getting personal, it's a good thing, not something to be avoided. I have a peer, executive level, with whom I engage in donnybrooks fairly frequently. A couple times a year we'll have a go at it bad enough that people around us will try to intervene and calm the situation down (don't do that, we'll turn on you). We're passionate about our points of view, and we don't hurl personal insults. The pattern is consistent. After we've dispensed with the pleasantries, we'll gradually descend on a flight path that results in a solid solution we can both support. Then we go to lunch.

Just maintain a level of respect and stick to the issues. There's nothing wrong with passion.