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Overcoming Challenging Relationships at Work

Whether you are in the office part-time or full-time, you may find some office relationships challenging. With many different personalities, you may face some tense interactions and stressful conversations. However, there are things you can do to make the moments a little easier.

Consider whether you’ve been communicating adequately and empathetically. At the NASBA Center for the Public Trust (CPT), we want to ensure we are holding a high standard for ourselves and in the example we set. When communicating with a tough colleague, look internally. Did you say something that could have been taken the wrong way? What role did you play in the situation? Leading by example can help others around you shift their behavior.

Another way to reset a tough situation is by assessing the tone of the conversation. You may not realize the impact tone has on a conversation, but it is quite significant. If the tone is wrong, it may cause someone to pull away, feel frustrated, angry, or become defensive. To help ease the tension, you may want to refer to a good memory or common bond. This is useful to help create a supportive environment and dialogue.

When speaking to someone, remember to use “I” language instead of “You” language. Using “I” language helps the other person understand your perspective. On the other hand, using “You” language may prevent your teammate from accepting responsibility. Additionally, you should try to avoid sounding as though you are speaking on behalf of someone else. “I” language allows you to share your perspective and story in your own words. By following these simple tips, you may avoid further conflict in the workplace.

-Dina Barabash, NASBA Content Development & Web Specialist