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Pick your battles–and win

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in Workplace Communication,Workplace Conflict

If you’re a naturally argumentative person, restrain yourself at work. Even if you’re smarter than your peers, your penchant for picking verbal battles can leave you alone and ostracized.

To tame your confrontational style, think like an attorney. Lawyers love to argue, but the savviest ones also know too much aggressiveness can alienate judges and juries—and ultimately harm their client.

Pick your battles with care. Don’t argue every point because you’re sure of your rightness or you think you’re on a roll. After a certain point, scoring wins on every minor issue works against you.

Wise attorneys don’t argue every possible motion for fear of irritating judges. “Some motions just aren’t worth pursuing unless you are reasonably sure of a meaningful positive outcome,” writes Stewart Weltman, a Chicago attorney, in a Legal Times column.

Think before you bicker or contradict others. Ask yourself, “Does the benefit of winning this argument outweigh the potential damage it can cause?” 

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