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  • What to Do if a Conversation Turns Loud and Aggressive

    04/15/16 10:00 AM | By :Exact Staff | Categories : Uncategorized | Leave a Comment
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    Is your workplace a hive of harmonious activity – or does it feel more like an episode of Hell’s Kitchen?

    Whether they begin with policy disagreements, personality clashes or simple misunderstandings, workplace disagreements can quickly escalate into full-blown battles without proper management. And the results can be disastrous, including:

    • Lowered productivity and morale;

    • Employee turnover;

    • Even costly legal action which can sabotage profitability and your company’s reputation.

    In all fairness, not every workplace conflict leads to such dire consequences. Often, squabbles and disagreements are short-lived, and a certain amount of conflict is healthy and normal.

    Still, it’s better to be prepared to effectively resolve arguments you find yourself in – instead of allowing your loud and aggressive conversation devolve into something more dangerous. Here are a few actions to help you halt, or even turn around, a serious argument at work:

    Acknowledge Your Role

    It takes two to fight; if you find yourself embroiled in something more than a heated professional discussion, stop in your tracks. Take a deep breath. And authentically take responsibility for your role in the conversation’s derailment. Even if you’re not the one who provoked the argument, be the bigger person and apologize for compromising your work values.

    State Your Intentions

    Make it clear that you don’t want to argue, but that you’d like to find a mutually beneficial solution – even if you don’t know what that is at the moment. Demonstrating a sincere desire to resolve the conflict will instantly relieve the tension in the air and shift momentum in the right direction.

    Define Rules of Engagement for Moving Forward

    Once you’ve both regained your composure, set ground rules for civil discussion (even if you continue to disagree):

    • Use “I” instead of “you” statements to keep the discussion from turning back into an argument Avoid pointing fingers or placing blame.

    • Focus on work behaviors; skip personal attacks.

    • Use a professional, calm tone when speaking. Yelling, sarcasm or even disrespectful body language (e.g., eye rolling, defensively crossing arms) should not be tolerated.

    • Take periodic time-outs, if needed, to stay calm and in control of your behavior.

    Focus on Agreement

    Naturally, people who argue fixate on what they disagree about. You can profoundly transform a negative conversation, however, simply by shifting the focus to areas of common ground. Take a moment to calmly and sincerely list your points of agreement. Then, use those as the foundation for resolving your differences. The road to resolution may still be bumpy, but civility and a sincere desire to work things out will keep you on track.

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