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Handle conflict without losing it

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in Office Politics,Workplace Communication

It’s hard for employees to do their best work when their bosses yell at them, and, thankfully, this type of outburst is quickly becoming a thing of the past in most workplaces, writes Sue Shellenbarger for The Wall Street Journal. But some people are still expressing their anger in harmful ways. They dash off angry emails or use a sarcastic tone when communicating with their colleagues.

These tactics can make conflicts drag on and can create feelings of resentment. However, there are some constructive ways to resolve office disputes. Rather than raising your voice, try speaking in short sentences that explain what the issue is and how it makes you feel, suggests Sylvia LaFair of leadership-coaching firm Creative Energy Options.

Speaking slowly and quietly can help to get people to pay attention to what you’re saying, says John Shufeldt, who heads medical-­franchising company Doctors Ex­­press. “It forces people to dial down their own volume just to hear you. They lean in and hang on your every word,” he says.

In some cases, you may be able to defuse a heated situation by keeping your emotions in check. This approach “throws the other person off balance, because they’re expecting you to push back,” says Steven P. Dinkin, who leads the National Conflict Resolution Center.

— Adapted from “When the Boss Is a Screamer,” Sue Shellenbarger, The Wall Street Journal.

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