1. Always confront co-workers in private. Example: At a meeting, an admin co-worker tells your mutual manager: “Here’s how I think the admins can help with that ... .”
Morford’s advice: Wait until after the meeting to talk to the admin personally. Say: “I didn’t want to say this in the meeting, but I have a problem with your idea. I wanted to discuss it with you in private.”
Your colleague will be more receptive to your viewpoint, because you didn’t embarrass him or her in public. And if the topic is too time-sensitive to hold your tongue during a meeting? Say in front of the group: “Sandy, I think when you came to that conclusion you were missing a piece of information that no one shared with you.”
Then, tell her what the additional fact is. That gives Sandy room to change her mind and save face, says Morford.
“She now can easily say: ‘Well, given that new information, I would decide things a little differently.’”
2. Go out of your way to help people when they’re in trouble. Example: A co-worker makes a very public error, and everyone knows the boss is mad. While others are avoiding the person, ask him or her out to lunch. Your co-worker will likely survive the gaffe and be grateful to those who didn’t just walk away.
3. Always break bad news face to face. Since most people hide behind e-mail when delivering bad news, you can cultivate respect by being brave enough to deliver the information in person. Start the conversation by saying: “You are not going to like what I am about to tell you. But I respect you too much not to tell you in person.” “Your co-workers can make or break your career,” says Morford. Work those relationships to your benefit.