Health Advocate Blog

Maintaining mutual respect for coworkers

During difficult times, when opinions may drastically differ and tempers can flare during discussions, it can be a challenge to stay grounded and focused in the workplace. However, no matter how difficult it may feel, it’s important that you continue to foster mutual respect for your coworkers.  Follow these tips!

Helpful things to remember:

  • Stay positive by remembering that people’s strong opinions originate from a common, shared passion for “what’s right.” Our disagreements are often a result of varying backgrounds, experiences, and what we’ve learned and believe. Honor those differences and the freedom to have them.
  • Be a good role model. Treat others the way you would want to be treated.
  • Try not to interrupt. Truly listen, and give the other person the attention you would like to have.
  • Use “I’ statements to express your views and avoid blaming the other person or “side.”
  • Limit strong conversations in the workplace where heated debate can lead to unnecessary conflicts.
  • Breathe deep to “buy time” so you can act thoughtfully and not just react.  Count to 10 to gather your thoughts – your mother and grandmother were right with this advice!
  • Sometimes it’s best to give a polite reply and simply walk away. Examples include: “I see what you mean.” Or, “You’ve given me some things to think about. Thank you.” 
  • Take the high road and be part of the solution instead of fueling a problem. Channel your strong convictions into making a positive difference—like volunteering for a cause, for example– while respecting those who believe differently.

Remember, it can be impossible to rewind when you say something, do something, and/or email comments that can create discord. Embracing diverse opinions can actually foster a healthy workplace. Plus, stretching your “tolerance muscles” at work can help you in other areas of your life as well.

If you find yourself struggling with respect and acceptance of others or with having upsetting confrontations, reach out to a Licensed Professional Counselor for guidance.