Avoiding Workplace Word Wars

Safe workplace culture. Unfortunately, wanting to speak up when a verbal assault bomb is dropped doesn’t mean you know how to speak up, or even what to say so here are a few communication strategies you can implement. Instead of simply describing the strategies, I will demonstrate how to implement them in a workplace scenario where a frustrated employee, Jolene, blurts out a negative comment about the Help Desk department.

A napkin with conflict resolution solutions wrtten on it, sitting next to a cup of coffee

Request clarification In a calm and firm manner, ask Jolene to share what she meant by “renaming the Help Desk Department to the Helpless Department.” In taking a curious approach, you invite reflection of the meaning of one’s words. Asking questions prevents you from accusing, lecturing or judging the actions of others.

Acknowledge the needs or concerns of the other person Acknowledging the other person’s challenge is not instinctive. Even so, learning to acknowledge instead of telling someone what you think of their outburst, can become a patterned response with repeated practice. While acknowledging is not a solution to the problem, it opens up a dialogue where a solution could be explored. Rest assured, acknowledging someone’s concerns doesn’t mean you approve of their behavior, it simply means you understand what motivated their behavior or outburst.

Communicate positive wants (for everyone involved) When people hear that you desire a positive outcome or solution to their problem, they see you as an advocate, not an enemy. 

Lorie Reichel-Howe

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4 Responses to Avoiding Workplace Word Wars

  1. Damyanti Biswas says:

    I always have such joy reading the topics you pick for your blogs 🙂 Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I can do this as long as it’s not directed towards me. I like to think I don’t bother nobody so when folks target me or come for me, I lose my professional baring. I’m not sure I won’t to change that. My instructor asked me what I was going to do if a doctor yells at me, I told her I’d get with him right then and there. He won’t do it again. One thing I learned in the Army, I don’t care what your rank is you put your pants on like I do. I will not be bullied or disrespected.

    Liked by 1 person

    • msw blog says:

      I am a firm believe you set the bar with individuals when you first meet them, and they will often treat you in that manner moving forward. I also agree no one should not be disrespected or bullied particular in the workplace. I am always reminded of my Papa wisdom “You’re hiring me not buying me.”

      Liked by 1 person

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