Everyone has a bad day now and then, and hey, that’s ok! It’s easy for your work family to truly become closer to you than your immediate family, given the close quarters and 40+ hours spent together each week. Like any intimate relationships, emotions arise and heated debates can cause conflict. It’s an underlying assumption that work struggles can be glazed over and handled in a professional manner, but I’m sure as most of us know, this isn’t the case.
So what draws the fine line between reacting to a workplace confrontation like you would a personal relationship and how can you handle it without the drama? Read on to find out…
Kill with Kindness
In any office setting, you must remember that you are walking on what some might call, “Holy Ground”. That said, it’s to always speak with courtesy and respect, and these rules don’t bend during office conflicts. When engaged in a heated argument, it’s possible to stand your ground and get your point across all while remaining calm and speaking with integrity and well-groomed manners. To keep your reputation intact, be kind and courteous always, and you’ll find no matter what the outcome of the argument is, you’ll feel 10x better by just keeping a positive attitude and ending on a generous note.
Pick and Choose Your Battles
Want to know the real reason why the now infinitely franchised, kid-obsessed, Academy award-winning (not to mention catchy as, well, the exact opposite of) Frozen title track is so, so, so popular? It’s because it’s so relatable. Sometimes it’s not worth it to take on an avalanche on your own – it’s better to just Let. It. Go. You’re not belting that song in the shower because you can’t get it out of your head. You’re declaring a state of acceptance, and that you too, should let some things go. Waiving the white flag doesn’t admit you’re wrong or diminishes your beliefs. It simply means that you don’t find this particular disagreement is worth the consequences, especially at work. In some cases, the juice is not worth the squeeze and hey, that’s fine (you don’t like orange juice anyway!).
Turn Conflict Into Opportunity
With every challenge there is always a learning opportunity. Find out what yours is in your next potential office conflict. Before jumping the gun and impulsively reacting to the situation; take a step back, breathe and ask yourself, “what is the purpose of this argument and why did it come into my life at this particular moment?” Do you need to address your self-control? Or can you work on your choice of words? With every offense we feel, there is a kernel of truth that shouldn’t be ignored. Any struggle brings about two options: You can bury the truth and view from a differing perspective, never to been seen again. Or, you can take this time to examine, self-evaluate and answer the questions you couldn’t bear to ask of yourself. Shed light on the situation – that kernel of truth is what helps us grow from conflict.
COMMUNICATION is Key
Finally, it can’t be stressed enough that in any of life’s affairs, the number one rule for a healthy relationship is communication, communication, communication! In office spats particularly, it’s important to first assess the situation and define an appropriate tone of correspondence to set a level of acceptable behavior. Don’t ignore your feelings or a colleague’s words – silence can be interpreted as ignorance and a nonchalant demeanor. Don’t shut down and push it away. No matter how big or small, always respond with honesty and a cool manner. It’s important to confirm with your colleagues that their thoughts and words matter to you, as they should.
For more tips on how to deal in the office, be sure to visit the Interior Talent blog.