Office confrontation is never easy. Below are 5 things you should never say to your colleagues to avoid this.
1. “Sorry you feel that way.”
People often say this to wrap up a disagreement quickly. On the contrary, this response is likely to elongate negative feelings towards you in the long run. It suggests you haven’t acknowledged that person’s feelings and worse, have no time for them. Instead, try asking open questions with sincerity like ‘what could I do next time to avoid you feeling this way?’ This opens up the conversation in a non-confrontational way. Even if you don’t fully agree with what that person is saying, you show that you acknowledge something is amiss regardless, which it is.
2. Asking closed Questions
That leads me on to ‘closed questions.’ It takes a little practice to get out of bad habits but asking a closed question such as ‘Do you think we will make tomorrow’s deadline?’ is suggestive & can influence the response. Instead, try ‘Where are we with tomorrows report?’ ‘Where’ opens up critical thinking and leads you onto a ‘how’ which also offers a solution. Easily remember open questions with ‘Who? What? Which? Where? & How?’
3.“I don’t agree with management’s decision”
Never share disagreements you have with management publicly. Not only will it cause conflict if they find out second hand, but a company needs to work in cohesion to achieve its shared mission and values. Disarray causes a lack of direction & others to work out of sync resulting in poor overall output. Disagreements are inevitable so you need to accept & get on with management’s final decision or take it up in a solution-focused manner in a 1-2-1 meeting.
4. Sending angry emails
Anger needs a target so send that angry email to yourself and think about whether you still wish to send it later. Likely you won’t or at least you’ll change the tone to something more diplomatic. This pause also gives the recipient time to calm down so the email will be better received.
5. Chasing work by highlighting what’s not been done
If you’re a manager or involved in a project, you’re likely to find yourself chasing people for work a lot. Instead of only asking for work that’s missing, team it up with an opportunity to thank someone for other work they have accomplished so far. Not only does the dreaded ‘chase’ email become a welcome one, but it also shows you appreciate the work they do & motivates them to work harder. It breeds team cohesion & makes you sound far less ‘moany.’
What bad practice have you learned from in the past and how did you overcome it?
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