These are difficult times. A pandemic is coming; social problems divide us; and partisan politics is inevitable. There is a possibility that opinions on some of these issues may differ widely at your workplace. Does that mean you can never have a casual lunch with colleagues in the break room again? Do we always have to avoid those who don’t share our perspectives to keep peace?
Fortunately, the answer is no. When you are ready to take the lead and show some patience, tolerance and empathy, you can conclude a successful and lasting ceasefire among the people at your workplace. Here are some suggestions to maintain a happier and more harmonious atmosphere when you are on the watch.
Use the “Tell me more” technique
in the Kelly Corrigan’s memoirs, Tell me more: Stories about the 12 most difficult things I learn to say. She suggests these three words not only to encourage people in your life to open up but also to give you the opportunity to listen. If someone brings up an upcoming election or controversial article that they read at lunch rather than automatically closing it to avoid conflict or biting our tongues to avoid disagreement, we could just say “Tell me more”.
It may be difficult at first, especially if the person speaking is negative or irritable, but these simple words can really soften people up. Everyone likes to be heard; Everyone appreciates respect. Ask others to do so “Tell me more” does not mean that you have to listen to a three-hour monologue; it just means that you are ready to listen to them and that you are interested.
When discussing different opinions, find at least one thing that you can agree with
One of my friends at work is the opposite of me politically. However, we both have no problem discussing issues because we both know that nothing is all black or all white. We respect each other as intelligent, well informed people and often say things like: “Well, I’ll grant you that.” or “That is certainly true.” When practicing the “Tell me more” Technology, you can probably find at least one tiny thing that your speaker says that you could comment positively on.
Is the issue of climate change? Maybe you could offer something as simple as: “Well, the weather was crazy this year.” Argue about an election? Try to offer “It just seems like everyone who runs is wrong with them.” Such statements are not exactly worthy of a Nobel Peace Prize, but they are still bridges to our fellow human beings. Keep them general, simple, and true, and they will get remarkable results.
Model how you can communicate professionally and disagree
People who work together usually pay close attention to their manners when they are involved in their daily tasks or teams. You are busy; there may be quotas; Time is money. If you want to have friendly discussions with your employees during the break or at lunch, you need to interact with consistent professionalism throughout the day. Show them how to communicate disagreement without judgment or resentment. Be aware of your tone. Accept the best from someone who could make a mistake.
Instead of, “You’re doing it wrong,” try it. “We found that it usually works better that way.” Know that most people are just like you: do their best and sometimes have a bad day, or experience personal distractions that make their work a little less than optimal. When people know that you are reasonable and balanced, they often offer you the same treatment. Such behavior is much more likely to involve downtime if it is practiced continuously
Have a go-to phrase that changes the subject
Even when polarizing events are not on the news, conversations between employees can sometimes get heated. It can be a project that is not going well or someone who is not pulling its weight. Whatever it is, people are ticked off. This pays off if you invest in getting to know your colleagues. At my workplace we have a large number of older employees who have grandchildren. Whenever words get rough in the break room, I just throw in something like: “So Chris, how are these grandchildren?” or “John, isn’t your daughter-in-law pregnant again?”
If you don’t know your employees very well, you can use another statement that is reasonably neutral, such as: “Thank God the weekend is coming!” (Even if it’s only Monday.) Or use everyone’s love for sports. “How about Knicks with them?” The idea is to have some kind of bait ready; everything that will take the conversation in a better direction. Others will almost always appreciate it and follow your example.
Don’t be afraid to end a conversation or confidently apologize
This goes along with (4) above. I used my safe sentences (yes, I used several) early in conversations to avoid the possibility of things going south. There are certain people among my colleagues who just can’t resist racking their brains and I refuse to be in the middle of it. However, sometimes the best played safe sentences fail.
When that happens, I literally said to people: “Hey guys it’s time to get back to work.” Or “Let’s not do that.” Combine these remarks with getting up to go and throw something in: “Hey Bill, can you help me with something in my office?” This tactic always works for me. However, if you’re not sure enough to do it, just apologize. Don’t run away, but make sure people know you’re leaving. A simple and straightforward “I will go” enough. Nobody should intimidate or scare you.
During my numerous careers, I have always found that everyone appreciates good manners, even the strangest. You don’t have to be a fake or doormat to get along with your colleagues. However, you need to be aware that you are not the only one on the job. This means that you have to be considerate of others and not just think about anything or anyone that irritates you. If you exercise patience and be polite, you’re guaranteed to improve your productivity and work experience, whether in the break room or in the boardroom. You will almost certainly find that it does the same for everyone else.
Do you like this article? Subscribe to our feed!
Author: Emily Berlinghoff
Emily Berlinghoff is a writer, teacher, and dog mother and runs the math department of a high school in Florida. She has also worked as a respiratory therapist and as an educator and motivator who has guided patients and students. Emily not only writes about self-improvement, she also enjoys camping, hiking and everything related to dogs. Find them published yourself memoirs of her grandson on Amazon.
Note: We are not the author of this content. For the Authentic and complete version,
Check its Original Source