Your goal is to become a manager some day. But for some reason, unfriendly co-workers derail you. It takes you a full day to think through what you are going to say or you mull over what you should have said.
If this is you, chances are you tend to be more introverted and need to carefully think through what you say. Then after a day or so goes by, you feel you would be only causing more trouble by confronting the unfriendly co-worker and tend to avoid bringing the conflict forward.
With management as a goal, your objective with unfriendly employees isn’t to become buddies, although that’s always nice. Instead, you need to create a synergy so that you can work together – as professionals.
If you think your co-worker doesn’t like you for a personal reasons such as your laugh or the style of your hair, you can be courteous and move on. However, if you think you’ve offended your coworker for some reason, find out why. Do make the discussion as objective as possible.
Statements to Avoid
You’re really being rude to me.
I really hate how you’re treating me.
I used to think you were okay, but now I just think you’re nasty.
Why are these statements inflammatory? Because they focus on the other person and create defensiveness. They are subjective statements pointed at the other person. They are also vague and not specific.
Statements to Use – Maybe Even Memorize
When coworkers suddenly get chilly with you:
I hope I haven’t done anything to offend you.
Would you like to discuss any issues with me?
Is there anything I’ve done to obstruct this project? If so, I ‘d like to know what it is.
Have I said something you think is inappropriate?
When coworkers are rude or unpleasant:
If you have an issue with me, let me know. Otherwise, I expect that you’ll treat me with respect.
I don’t respond to that kind of language (tone of voice, insinuation). Let me know when you are ready to talk.
I think we need to discuss this project (what is going on), but only in civil terms.
We need to talk in a professional manner.
When coworkers project behavior or motivations on you:
Why do you say that?
What do you mean?
If a coworker is over stepping their boundaries by labeling you, chances are they are projecting their own behavior onto you or some past experience they have had that has nothing to do with you. By asking them to clarify, they will either back down or enter into a useful discussion with you.
When do you need to document conversations?
If you think a coworker is abusive, then document your interactions and write down the name of anyone who witnessed them. Contact your HR department immediately.
To learn about the behaviors that build high levels of workforce collaboration and behaviors that predictably cause problems, join us in learning how to build high functioning group norms that keep most coworker relationships civil and collaborative. Learn how to facilitate group norm discussions and decisions by becoming TIGERS Licensed and Certified. Contact Dianne Crampton at 541-385-7465 to learn more.