Avoiding confrontation at work is a necessary and useful skill. There will always be clashing personalities, but knowing how to be professional is key. It can bring you promotions to leadership positions, or it may just make work a more pleasant place to be.

  1. Always take a moment before responding to anything that makes you feel defensive. If someone accuses you of something you didn’€™t do, think for a minute before responding instead of immediately ripping into them. That way, you’ll be calmer when you do speak.
  1. Know when to keep your mouth shut. Don’€™t participate in office gossip because it might end up damaging you. You don’t know who’s going to tell who what you said, so don’t say anything that could make you look bad if the wrong person heard it.
  2. Never, ever yell. No matter how much someone angers you, by yelling at you or insulting you, never yell back. Speak very calmly and quietly. It may have the effect of calming the other person down, or it may make them angrier. Either way, €“ if your coworkers walk in and see you calm and the other person out of control, who do you think they’€’re going to feel is more professional?
  3. Don’€™t call people names. Even if it’s in jest, behind their back, or off of work property, don’€™t do it. They may find out about it, and you won’t want to have the €œwhy did you say that€ conversation later.
  4. Develop a working relationship with your colleagues. Get to know your coworkers and try to become a bit friendly with them. This will make office life more pleasant for everyone and may head off conflicts. An office full of ‘friends’ is an office with little tension.
  5. If something does happen that’€™s your fault, confess. Admitting your mistakes will make you look human, but also like a bigger person. Anyone can keep their mouth shut, or even let someone else take the blame. A big person will stand up and admit they made a mistake. Never let anyone else take the blame because if it ever does come out that it was you, no one will trust you again.
  6. Don’€™t blame others for their mistakes €“ even if it was their fault. No one likes the blame game. If you start pointing out others€™ mistakes and being picky or mean about it, no one will like you. It’€™s best to just ignore mistakes that are made, unless they’re serious. If they are serious, take it directly to your supervisor. Don’€™t confront the other person.
  7. Let your supervisor handle all complaints. If you have a serious issue with a coworker, and talking calmly won’€™t help, tell your supervisor. It is his job to handle such matters diplomatically.
  8. Be diplomatic all the time. If you do have to comment on an employee’s performance (if you’€™re a supervisor or someone asks), be sure, to be honest, but diplomatic. Mention the person’€™s weaknesses related to the job, but also mention the person’€™s strengths. If you are speaking directly to the employee, say €œYou’re really great at getting your reports done well, but I wish you would get them done a little sooner.€ People are less defensive if you praise as well as critique.
  9. If something someone’s doing is really making you angry, try to ignore it – until you get home. If a coworker is gossiping or being otherwise annoying, don’t say anything. Go home and complain to your family or friends (who are NOT coworkers) about it. Get your anger out by writing in a journal, working out, talking to family €“ anything that’s away from the office.
  10. Don’€™t let your personal feelings about your colleagues show. There WILL be people you don’€™t like, but you can’t treat them differently than the people you do like. Try to be polite and pleasant to everyone, all the time. If your feelings of dislike show, people will respond to you more negatively.

Following these tips will make the office a more pleasant place for everyone. Keep yourself in control at all times in the office, even if that means you need to take a break sometimes to get away from it all. Be nice and polite all the time. If you behave in a professional manner, the office will be a good place to be.

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