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Trigger Words That Exacerbate Conflicts

Workplace Conflicts

Linguistics play an important role in shaping our perception—and behavior. You might not even realize, but the words you use shape your personality. Different cultures use language in different ways. For example, in some languages, a bridge might be described as beautiful (a female connotation) whereas, in other cultures words like strong or long will be used (which has a masculine connotation).

Language has played an important role in the evolution of mankind. But at the same time, the words you use may put you in a pressing situation.

Words like ‘Never’ or ‘Always’ are superlatives that leave no room for argument. When such words are used, conflict resolution becomes difficult. To reach a positive outcome in a conflict, avoid the following phrases.

‘Let’s Just Compromise’

The word ‘compromise’ means that both parties need to make a concession to reach a middle ground. It also suggests that the conflict has escalated to a point where no solution can be reached.

Compromise means that all parties involved need to give up something good, irrespective, if they were right or wrong in the conflicting situation.

The goal of your conflict resolution shouldn’t be a compromise; it should be to reach the problem with the best possible solution. An experienced HR advisory service will enable you to explore multiple solutions before hitting the compromising role.

‘You Are Being Difficult’ Or ‘He Is Difficult’

If you just had an argument with a colleague, he/she will definitely seem difficult to you. Truth be told, the people you don’t get along with, might have a great work-relationship with another colleague.

Arguments happen when conflicting personalities interact. The way you approach the issue will warrant a solution. Only an employee relation consultant or a mediator can identify a party as difficult or not. You can’t label someone as unreasonable, without evaluating the reasoning behind it.

Avoid Being Disrespectful

Respect can be shown in multiple of ways. During arguments, people tend to overlook basic etiquettes, and end up talking-over each other. The words you choose might not always be the culprit, but the way you say it might aggravate a situation.  Therefore, use phrases like ‘sorry to cut you in’ or ‘please let me finish’ when trying to resolve a conflict.

Never or Always

Using superlatives like always, all, every, or never, puts a limitation to possibilities. Using these terms, you identify the opposing party as the usual culprit and leave no room for argument or perspective.

These words have an absolute nature, which means the blame needs to be assigned to a single party. Moreover, phrases like ‘you are always late’, or ‘project delay was your fault’ implies that you are in the defensive mode. Being defensive during conflict resolution can escalate the issue, leaving both parties aggravated.

Conflicts are part and parcel of a workplace, but with timely and strategic guidance you can navigate through them effectively. Call 1-877-803-3486 to get help from DFRI.