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Ever had a problem with a paycheck or watched your computer sputter its last breath just when you needed it most? At moments like these, if the conversation you want to have with the payroll department or help desk involves a loud stream of ugly adjectives, you're not alone. According to CNN.com, outbursts in the workplace are not uncommon.


Ever had a problem with a paycheck or watched your computer sputter its last breath just when you
needed it most? At moments like these, if the conversation you want to have with the payroll department or help desk involves a loud stream of ugly adjectives, you're not alone. According to CNN.com, outbursts in the workplace are not uncommon.

A national survey of more than 1,300 workers revealed that, "Forty-two percent said yelling and verbal abuse took place where they worked -- and twenty-nine percent admitted that they themselves had yelled at co-workers."
The challenge at work, where the stresses of long hours, irritating co-workers and daily snafus can take its toll, is to manage your complaint network, tone and word choice. Compliments are quickly forgotten; raging co-workers are not only remembered, they're written up, talked about and disrespected by others who say to each other, "I'd never do that." Whether you've already lost it or swear you never will, keeping your temper in check is always the quickest route to resolutions and to a better reputation at work.

Tell it to the judge . . . Beginning tomorrow, resolve to take your issues directly to the individuals involved, or in the best position to help you. Maybe it feels good to whine to your cube-mate, but does he or she really have the authority, time or ability to rewrite your paycheck or jump start your lap top? Don't waste your time, or theirs. People resent and remember when someone usurps their time. Take it to the right person, and leave everyone else out of it.

Speaking of whining . . . Speak clearly, at a decibel usual for your workplace. Anything louder, sharper or resembling an ambulance siren will turn off the listener's ability to hear the words you say. Try rehearsing in the (empty) elevator or restroom, so that your problem comes across the way you want it to be heard and handled: professionally. No one wants to be screamed at; people steer clear of the worker with a short fuse.
You were saying . . . When you're feeling angry, upset, disgruntled or ripped off, you need to think about what needs to change.

Take a minute to choose words that will express both the problem and the solution: for example, "My computer crashed and I have a presentation in an hour; can you help me retrieve the information I need?" Say please, even if it kills you. Say thank you, even if the effort someone made wasn't completely successful. No one did this to you intentionally; it just happened. Acknowledge that, and try to be part of the solution rather than adding more chaos to the situation.

Sounds easy, but . . . Develop good habits by trying these techniques during minor incidents, so that you'll respond professionally when you instinctively want to explode. Who wouldn't rather do business with a friend than an enemy? It's flies, honey and vinegar. Generally, vinegar isn't the lasting impression most people hope to make.


Julie Desmond is an Executive Recruiter with Hunter Hamilton Professional Resources. Send career planning questions to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

 

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