“Excuse me, I’m talking.”How to Avoid Being Perceived as Rude

ID-100246937If you’re in a political debate, you may be able to get away with being abrupt, but not in the workplace.  The perception that you are rude can bring your career to a screeching halt.  If you have found in the past that your behaviour is sometimes misconstrued as rudeness, here are some tips that will help you fix that problem:

Be aware.  Just being mindful of your interactions with others can help you manage them better.  Pay attention to what you are saying and imagine how it may be perceived by the people around you.

Pay attention to your body language.  If you look for it, you will find that most people give you a lot of nonverbal clues about how they are feeling.  Watch for facial expressions and body language while you are talking to people.  Are they smiling and nodding or are they avoiding eye contact and turning away from you?  If you are watching, you should be able to know through their body language if you have offended someone.

Get feedback.  Try to find somebody you can trust that will tell you how you are being perceived by others.  Ask this person to tell you if they see you saying something that could be seen as rude.  Sometimes a small adjustment in the way that you speak to people can make a huge difference in the way that they feel about you.

Apologize immediately.  We all step over the line sometimes and when we do, it is best to apologize quickly.  Most people are completely willing to forgive an abrupt comment if you acknowledge it and apologize.

Navigating the politics of any workplace is not easy.  If you rub your coworkers the wrong way it will make it difficult for you to succeed.  The good news is that most people just want to be treated with respect.  Be courteous to each person you encounter and you shouldn’t have a problem.

(Written by Karen Bivand, Image Courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

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Can a Workplace Conflict Cost You Your Job?

Being involved in a workplace conflict can make you feel insecure.  You may be worried that your manager will get the wrong impression of you.  This is a valid concern.  However, conflicts happen everyday and when you’re working with other people, they are to be expected.  You don’t get into trouble simply by being involved in a conflict.  However, problems can arise when you don’t handle it appropriately.  Here are some tips to help you address a conflict without risking your job:

Stay out of it.  Sometimes workplace conflict is unavoidable, but if it is at all possible for you to get out of the way, then do it.  There are rarely winners in workplace conflicts, so the less conflicts you are involved in, the better.

Play nice.  It’s advice that your mom gave you for the playground and it still holds true today.  When you are consistently courteous to your coworkers, you will maintain strong working relationships with them and you won’t give them any reason to complain about you.

Don’t put it in writing.  In this age of email communication, it is easy for people to take things out of context.  When you’re involved in a workplace conflict, it is better to communicate with your coworkers in person.  This helps to minimize misunderstandings and it removes the risk of your email being forwarded around the office.

Don’t make it personal.  Remember that you are there to do a job.  In many cases, if you are conflicting with a coworker, it is because there is a problem with the procedures.  It may have absolutely nothing to do with the people involved.  When you resist the temptation to lay blame and instead stay focused on solving the problem, you may find that the solution is right in front of you.

Say sorry.  Nobody enjoys a conflict.  Even when you handle it with the utmost of professionalism, it can still damage your relationship with your coworker.  Do whatever you can to make it better.  Apologize for any inconvenience that you may have caused.  Even if it wasn’t your fault, apologizing can make your work life a little bit easier.

While you may not be able to completely avoid a conflict, you can conduct yourself in such a way that it will not threaten your job.  When you consistently maintain your professionalism and you’re always nice to your coworkers, it’s unlikely that you’ll ever get into trouble because of a workplace conflict.

(Written by: Karen Bivand)