When a colleague sharing the same workspace is generous with inappropriate comments, it is not always easy to work or keep calm. Our psychologist explains to us how to get out of this difficult situation that we all experience one day or another.
Every day it’s the same refrain: Thierry makes inappropriate comments, dubious anecdotes or sometimes borderline jokes. Yes, Thierry is heavy. Nothing as serious as harassment or humiliation, but you’d like to work in a calmer space and don’t know how to make him understand that he could refrain (aside from your glares). Should we let his weak behavior pass, point it out to him or confront him, at the risk of going to conflict? Our psychologist Johanna Rozenblum gives us some ideas.
Talking about it with the person concerned, the necessary basis for a change
First of all, should we talk about this problem which is not so serious, but burdensome on a daily basis? For our psychologist, this remains essential if you have to work alongside the targeted person in the long term.
“As in all social relationships, it allows you to talk about the difficulties you encounter with others in order to move forward” she confirms. This helps to clarify things before exploding.
However, at work the rules are not the same as in a couple or in a family circle. The response must therefore be adapted.
“The subtlety is that affects and emotions must not taint the exchange here. It is not a question of investing personally and emotionally in the discussion, but of highlighting a professional boredom. The aim is to find common ground to carry out a professional relationship and work in good conditions, not to make a better friend” underlines our expert. A limit to keep in mind.
4 ways to broach the subject with the “heavy” person
Still, you have to put your feet up if the person doesn’t realize the discomfort they can cause in the work space. To do this, our psychologist details several aspects of effective communication.
- De-dramatize the situation as much as possible before speaking. Often, we are tense by the accumulation of new comments, the attitude of this colleague. Johanna Rozenbum invites us to play down the situation as much as possible (as long as it is not a matter of personal harm). The discussion must remain within the framework of work, not venturing into personal relationships…;
- Discuss aside. It is better to avoid confrontation at all costs, or worse, public reproach, to get your message across. Likewise, people who have nothing to do with the conflict are not called as witnesses;
- Do not get into personal reproaches. This is perhaps the most difficult part of self-control when faced with a person who gets on our nerves, but the discussion, as seen, should not delve into personal reproaches, which could lead to aggression. . She must remain factual about an issue. The theme, for example, should not be the voice of the person who annoys us, but the fact that they are chatting near us during your important call.
- Stay professional at all costs. Don’t lose your nerve! This comes back to the previous points: your posture must be that of a professional person who intends to resolve a key point to work better. Point. (You won’t be able to change the whole person, unfortunately).
The right sentence to use
Difficult to know what to say to resolve this conflict? Johanna Rozenblum tells us the phrase that usually works.
This is a question starting with “How do you think…” (could we move forward in this situation? for example).
Once the problem is exposed, this turn of phrase allows you to rely on the other person. We change the posture, from the one who makes a reproach who accuses and the other who must accept “I am putting a problem on the table, how do you think we could try to resolve it?”
“This twist has the advantage of offering something engaging, pleasant, unlike a verbal joust which risks getting twisted. It exposes the desire for a peaceful exchange where the other is called upon to resolve a problem. that we meet with him.”
The sentence thus posed has at least the advantage of proposing a reasonable alternative.
Of course, in the case of a person who deliberately acts to harm you, or who makes insulting or degrading comments or who lapses into harassment; turning to your manager would then become necessary.