Think you’re being discriminated? Harassed? Bullied? Think again.
According to Kathleen Kelley Reardon, a management professor at the University of Southern California, “Individuals are 75 percent responsible for the way they are treated. By this she means that if you send signals of professionalism, courtesy and generosity, most people you deal with will treat you with the same high regard”.
So aside from taking responsibility for your mistakes and bad actions, to prevent conflict or a confrontation, you have to learn how to deal with combat and issues in the workplace. The office may seem like a battleground but it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to fight, or even react in a way that would escalate the situation.
In order to defuse potentially combative situations, try to understand the circumstances, whether the insult is intentional or accidental. To better handle unintentional insults, politely ask to clarify the other person’s meaning. However, once its intentional harassment, a comeback is necessary but be careful not to be too defensive as it would make you look weak.
Using a question as a comeback in confrontations is advisable. If you ask for an explanation on why the confronter is acting that way (and politely), it would give that person time to reflect as well as give you more information on how you can react appropriately.
Also, another tip is to “reframe” the conversation to avoid intensifying it. For example, if you were told that you work too slow, you can try saying, “Its because I’m thorough.”
But not all conflicts can be mitigated even if you use a clever tactic. Thus, you must learn to respond in kind. Keep your comeback brief, clear, and direct – it is important that your tone of voice is controlled and authoritative. For example, if someone is offensive, you can try saying, “Lucky for you, I’m too nice.”
Knowing how to handle confrontation in the office is as important as networking and technical skills. You have to learn how to protect yourself and at the same time, keep the conflict from escalating. Further, if you’re mature and controlled enough to know how to handle conflict or upsetting situations in the office properly, this can benefit your team. Mishandling confrontations or conflicts can divide the office, especially if both your comments and your actions are misplaced and you overreacted.