If you want to strengthen the working relationship with a colleague or bring somebody around to your way of thinking, you have to sort out where the similarities and differences are in your positions. Once you’re completely clear about your differences, you can better understand why the other person holds the position they do. Far too often, we set out to change someone’s mind without truly understanding why they believe what they do. As you can imagine, you’ll figure this out much more quickly if you’ve put your frustration aside and done the work to find common ground.

Any disagreement can elicit a range of negative emotions—from mild annoyance to moderate irritation or full-blown fury. There are cases when there is ...

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