It goes without saying that decorum in the workplace is of absolute importance. However, there are times when that decorum goes out the window.
Too often outbursts in the workplace are allowed or simply brushed under the rug without further comment or repercussion. But when in a professional setting – even if that setting is at Starbucks – it is important to recognize that our feelings, however valid they may be, have a time and a place to be explored and that time and place is almost never while in the workplace.
An article from Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center states that “Those practicing professionalism always strive to keep their personal feelings in check.”
Yes, sometimes our bosses or our coworkers’ actions or behaviors can get under our skin. Sometimes something someone says can hit closer to home than intended, but in order to behave professionally and to be able to fully engage in any working landscape, one must find a way to control their emotions and take the necessary steps to confront a problem.
It isn’t always easy to separate personal relationships from professional ones. Oftentimes the two overlap, which can be tricky to navigate. However, keeping one’s cool until the situation allows for a tame conversation is the key to problem solving.
Nothing can be solved in the heat of the moment. Taking a step back, decompressing, evaluating the situation and working to find the words to verbalize one’s feelings is the best course of action to take when personal and professional worlds collide.
In an article for Financial Post, David Tal lays out six steps to dealing with conflict in a professional way in the workplace. The first three steps are what need to be examined most closely.
Number one, address issues directly. Tal suggests, “Once your initial feelings have calmed down, set-up a time and place to talk about the situation where you won’t be interrupted. Remember to stay calm and professional while addressing the topic. Whoever you are speaking to should understand how you are feeling, but also not feel threatened, or attacked.”
The second step is to listen. There are two sides to every story and situations or intentions are very easily misinterpreted.
Third is to be objective. Tal writes that, “Objectivity can be hard when your feelings are hurt. However, in the workplace, it’s critical. Try to look at the situation from an outsider’s perspective […] You should never get your emotions and feelings wrapped up in situations that are strictly business.”
Everyone has an opinion and everyone is entitled to feel however they feel in response to these opinions. The issues one may face in the workplace may be out of our hands, but how we respond is entirely up to us. If something is done that upsets you, that’s not unreasonable.
That being there is a time and a place to handle these discrepancies, but no one is entitled to fly off the handle whenever things don’t go exactly as we want them to.