How to defuse workplace beef
Whether you’re a sports fan or not, you may have heard about the heated discussion seen between Toronto Blue Jays coach John Gibbons and third baseman Josh Donaldson last week. In the clip, the two are seen in an animated discussion, followed by Donaldson being pulled away from Gibbons by his teammates. When asked what the heated discussion was about Gibbons simply replied “none of your business.” Gibbons was soon trending on Twitter, with Jays fans everywhere wondering, what happened?
In the workplace you are going to encounter coworkers (and if you’re unlucky, bosses) who you just don’t get along with. For whatever reason your personalities clash but you need to remain professional if you want to be successful. Knowing how to mitigate tension is important when it comes to working as a team and getting a job done properly.
Whether or not you’re dealing with the fallout of your own workplace dust up, or simply trying to mitigate a tense workplace, here are 5 ways you can find peace at work.
Take a step back
First and foremost, take a few minutes and determine what the root of the problem is. While pride can sometimes get in the way, try to analyze the situation from all perspectives. Do you actually think you are right or are you trying to win the argument? The best way to do this is to step away from the situation and look at it objectively. Try taking a walk or changing scenery to help you gain perspective. If this was happening between two different people and you were brought in for your opinion, what would you say?
Talk it out
If you’ve taken a step back and still think you’re in the right, try talking to the person calmly. If it helps, write out what you have to say beforehand so you don’t forget. By laying out your points and trying to level with the person, you may help them understand and see your point.
If neither of these strategies work and they insist on being so annoying, stay calm. The worst thing you can do in a situation like this is get angry. Try talking to your manager about what the situation is and ask how they would handle it. This might give you a different approach and will also let your manager know you’re having a problem.
Make sure you write everything down. If the confrontation becomes too much, it could be deemed bullying. It’s important for you to have documented proof of the situation. Things like name calling, harassment, or physical touching in anyway is not acceptable. Keep things like emails, text messages, and personal accounts of the situations so you can bring it forth in the future if need be.
Keep on going
No matter what the situation or contention you are having with a fellow coworker, it’s important that you keep doing the job you’re being paid to do. If the argument does not affect a particular project you are working on, or if there’s something you can distract yourself with in the meantime, do so. Sometimes all it takes is a little time away for everyone to calm down.
If none of the above works and the confrontation or tension really is unbearable, you can always start looking for a new job. Sometimes it’s better to cut your losses and move on somewhere where your work and your personality will be more appreciated. At the end of the day, you will know that you did everything in your power to help solve the problem and sometimes that’s just not enough. Don’t beat yourself up about it.