Non-Confrontational Communication With Co-Workers

We can’t choose our coworkers, but we can choose how we communicate with them and how we react to their communications with us. Some workers spend as much time – or more – with coworkers as they do with their own families, so knowing some basics for avoiding or mitigating confrontational communications can make this time productive for your employer. Coworkers are more likely to listen and compromise if approached by a colleague with a nonconfrontational personality seeking a win-win solution whenever possible.

Listen Well

Listening is an essential but often overlooked communication function, according to Entrepreneur. You cannot properly receive and interpret the message being sent if you don’t take the time to be an active listener. Not everyone comprehends what they are hearing, so to avoid misunderstandings and potential confrontations,

Ask questions as a clarification strategy to reduce conflict. Show respect for perspectives that differ from your own and communicate genuine empathy for the feelings of others. When handled well, conflict can strengthen relationships and produce creative solutions to complex problems.

Control Anger

Using nonconfrontational psychology techniques requires emotional regulation. To avoid escalating the conflict, you must take steps to control your own angry feelings, as well as to defuse your coworkers' anger. Anger is a natural feeling and, with as much time as people spend at most jobs, inevitable. Don't allow it to be a source of stress at the office.

One way to defuse a situation is to not interrupt, whether your coworker is speaking out of anger, or you are angry yourself. If your coworker is angry at you, acknowledge the feeling in a non-hostile way, by saying something like, "I know you're angry. I want to help." An 'I' statement is used to communicate one's feelings in a nonconfrontational manner.

Find Common Ground

Avoiding disagreements completely is not realistic at work any more than it is at home. To keep it from escalating into a confrontation, find a common ground in your respective opinions. For example, you may disagree on a procedure to complete a task, but you can agree on the desired outcome. Once that commonality is established, decide what you can agree to, or whether it would be better to ask for a mediator.

Use Constructive Criticism

Confrontations sometimes arise out of criticism, even if it is done professionally. If you are in a position where you need to be critical of someone’s work, make sure that you criticize the behavior or the outcome, and not the person. For example, if a final presentation is not up to company standards, be sure to note that you may not have been clear about the objectives and offer to show your colleague an example of previous successful presentations to use for reference.

Move On

Know when to disengage and let go if you can't come to a resolution on a matter of relatively minor importance. Recognize when you're in a power struggle that is creating tension in the workplace and getting you nowhere. Move on without harboring resentments, the Help Guide recommends. Letting anger simmer can strain coworker relationships and lead to bigger problems down the road.