How to Handle Defensive Colleagues

Handle Defensive Colleagues
Handle Defensive Colleagues

How to Handle Defensive Colleagues. According to the Mayo Clinic, conflict between coworkers is a primary reason why many people are unhappy on the job. While conflict in the workplace is inevitable, it can be resolved. Follow these steps to handle conflict with a defensive coworker.

Take a step back. Before you try to confront a defensive coworker, take a time out for yourself. Count to ten, walk around the block or practice chair yoga to de-stress and clear your mind. This will help you calmly respond rather than react in frustration.

Walk in her shoes. Imagine the situation from your coworker's point of view. There may be more going on than you're aware. Often personal and professional lives collide, wreaking havoc on relationships. Attempt to be sympathetic without compromising accountability.

Put your best foot forward. Regardless of what your coworker says or does, you have a responsibility to be professional and mature. Consider the role you play in the disagreement and take responsibility for any wrongdoing.

Tips & Warnings

  • When confronting a coworker, use "I" statements to avoid placing blame. For instance, instead of saying "You are always late," try "I would appreciate it if you could be on time."
  • Despite your best efforts, the confrontation could escalate. Consider including a neutral person to facilitate the conversation.
  • Avoid becoming overly involved in a co-workers personal life.
  • If at all possible, communicate in person during a time of a conflict.

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