Monday, February 25, 2013

Workplace Confrontations

You come across all sorts of people while at work:

The ones that think they know it all

The ones that are in a bad mood…every single day

The ones that won’t shut up about their trip to Bear Mountain last weekend

And the ones that complain…

and complain…

and complain.

With all of these different personalities and behaviors, it is no wonder that confrontations often arise at the job. Yet, given that you have to not only see these people but often collaborate with them on an everyday basis, your best bet is to address the issue as soon as you can.

Confrontations are tough. The most important thing to keep in mind is to remain professional and show respect. Your goal should be to reach neutral ground. At best you can arrive at a state of mutual cooperation where you can optimize each other’s full potentials. Often times however, the most you can do is agree to disagree, and that is OK too.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when handling workplace conflicts:

1. Check yourself before you wreck yourself

Make sure that you come correct. Timing is key. Do not approach the person before they’ve even had a sip of their coffee on a Monday morning and definitely don’t do so at a crowded hallway within ear shot of all your colleagues. Find the right place and time. Also remember that word choice matters, use positive and constructive language and make sure your tone is professional, there is absolutely no need to raise your voice.

2. Honesty is the best policy

Be honest with the person you are confronting, but most importantly be honest with yourself. Know what your personal triggers are, so that you are prepared to deal with them when they arise. Do not say things that you do not mean, like something is OK when it’s really not. Do not make excuses for yourself or others. Remember that if you are honest, people will trust and respect you.

3. Keep it about work

Focus on the workplace behavior not on the person. Do not bring up that time you saw them at a restaurant and they did not tip the waitress. Stick to the topic. If your issue with your coworker is that they are not meeting team deadlines, don’t go off on how they once brought in smelly fish for lunch and the odor wafted through the whole office. Talk about work and work only.

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