The workplace is typically a veritable hodge-podge of different personality and styles. This tends to lead to passionate discussions about issues that arise in your business. Being able to manage disagreements is an important skill to keep discussions productive. Ed Muzio, CEO of Group Harmonics, talks about this very subject on BNET.com.
The first step to managing a disagreement is to define what you actually must agree on. From there Ed gives 5 Building Blocks of Reality to help you manage the conversation.
1. Information- This is where you lay out facts. What are the objective aspects of the issue.
2. Situation- This is the context with which the information was presented or at least your view of it. The background information if the situation is included here.
3. Interpretation- What you see as the conclusion or end result.
4. Approach- How that end result is supposed to be achieved.
5. Beliefs- What you believe personally about the issue.
The approach is start at #1 and work through as many of the building blocks as you need to in order to come to a joint conclusion on what you defined as having to agree on.
This is some food for thought on what you can do next time to keep a disagreement from escalating into an unproductive argument. The last thing that I feel is important here is to not get emotional about the situation so that you can stay level headed and work through the building blocks. Who knows, this might even help you resolve an argument with your spouse.