Ways to keep your head in the work­place

Lesotho Times - - Jobs & Tenders -

EV­ERY­ONE’S been there: In the midst of an ar­gu­ment (or just a good-na­tured de­bate) with a co-worker, sud­denly things get se­ri­ous. Heated words are ex­changed.

One thing leads to an­other, and it’s not long be­fore you’re both ready to tear out each other’s hair. Un­less you’re some kind of Zen guru, you’re likely to have some trou­ble shift­ing back down to neu­tral af­ter one of these rows.

Learn­ing how to re­gain your com­po­sure is more than per­sonal de­vel­op­ment. Los­ing your cool in the work­place can be detri­men­tal to your ca­reer (and heaven help you if your “dis­cus­sion” in­volves a su­pe­rior).

Here are five ways to chan­nel a more pos­i­tive en­ergy and show your­self to be the big­ger per­son. 1. Walk away. It’s the old­est trick in the calm­ing-down book and no doubt one your mother has sug­gested a time or two. This tac­tic can ben­e­fit you both and also help bal­ance the over­all work en­vi­ron­ment – if you un­der­stand when it’s ap­pro­pri­ate.

If you’re in the mid­dle of hash­ing it out, don’t re­treat un­til you’ve heard what the other per­son has to say. If the con­ver­sa­tion has de­volved, nei­ther of you is say­ing any­thing pro­duc­tive and you’ve re­sorted to hurl­ing hurt feel­ings at each other. It’s prob­a­bly time to take your stroll.

Speak calmly and clearly to let the other per­son know you’re go­ing to re­move your­self from the sit­u­a­tion. Then do so, with­out storm­ing off. Your exit is not part of your ar­gu­ment. 2. Clear your mind. A clear mind brings many ben­e­fits, and you’ll find quite a few proven ways to get there. Af­ter you’ve re­moved your­self from the ar­gu­ment, stretch your stroll into a walk. Get some fresh air. Push all of the fall­out from your brain and re­place it with pleas­ant mem­o­ries, such as a good week­end or a re­cent gath­er­ing with friends. This kind of neu­ro­log­i­cal sub­sti­tu­tion re­ally can work won­ders.

If your walk takes you to a quiet spot, con­sider a brief break to med­i­tate and re­cen­tre your­self. With guided-med­i­ta­tion apps, all you need to achieve mind­ful­ness are your smart­phone and a pair of ear­phones. 3. En­gage in an­other task. Some­times, im­mers­ing your­self in a new ef­fort is the best way to calm down. Do you have a big project com­ing up? Per­fect. Calm your nerves by vig­or­ously work­ing to at­tain a plau­si­ble goal. In fact, it’s been proven that high stress lev­els ac­tu­ally can make you work more ef­fi­ciently. Per­haps some­thing good can come out of your bad ar­gu­ment. 4. Con­sider the na­ture of the ar­gu­ment. Ac­cord­ing to Quirky Pres­i­dent Gina Wald­horn, “Em­pa­thy is an im­por­tant at­tribute to fos­ter­ing long-last­ing, pos­i­tive co­worker re­la­tion­ships. If you have a con­fronta­tion, re­mem­ber your co­worker’s unique per­spec­tive comes from the other tasks, stresses and re­la­tion­ships they’re deal­ing with daily – just like you are.”

Es­pe­cially in a startup, each team mem­ber might tackle mul­ti­ple roles each day. There’s no such thing as avoid­ance. Even­tu­ally, you’ll have to make up (or at the very least, re­turn to pro­fes­sional ci­vil­ity). It’s im­por­tant to con­sider what, ex­actly, made you and/or the other per­son so up­set. Was it the dis­cus­sion’s con­tent or some­thing else?

Un­less you’re run­ning a re­ally small shop, you’ve got a depart­ment to help with this. If hon­est re­flec­tion re­veals you and your co­worker might have big­ger or un­der­ly­ing is­sues, talk to some­one in hu­man re­sources. This is es­pe­cially help­ful if you’re un­able to rec­on­cile the sit­u­a­tion your­selves and re­quire a lev­el­headed third party to me­di­ate. 5. Make amends. This of­ten is the hard­est step. Af­ter an ar­gu­ment, most peo­ple think of them­selves as vic­tims and per­ceive the other in­di­vid­ual as the per­pe­tra­tor. Even­tu­ally, though, comes this re­al­iza­tion: Both peo­ple usu­ally share some blame. That’s why it’s im­por­tant to make amends.

Apol­o­gize for your role in the ar­gu­ment, try to em­pathize with the other in­di­vid­ual, and ini­ti­ate the process to cor­rect the course your re­la­tion­ship is tak­ing. In the end, it will be the best thing for you as well as your work­place.

It’s ironic that get­ting into an ar­gu­ment can be so easy – al­most ef­fort­less, re­ally – while get­ting out of one is so very dif­fi­cult. If you find your­self in this un­en­vi­able po­si­tion, un­der­stand that you hurt your­self and your rep­u­ta­tion when you try to be petty in­stead of com­pro­mis­ing.

You prob­a­bly won’t end up a Zen mas­ter, but less stress and more rec­on­cil­i­a­tion at work might just help you live a lit­tle longer. — En­tre­pre­neur

LOS­ING your cool in the work­place can be detri­men­tal to your ca­reer and heaven help you if it in­volves a su­pe­rior.

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