The workplace is fast becoming the place where we spend most of our time. Even if we're not physically in the office, it takes up a lot of virtual space in our lives, and our conversations. For people aged between 20-40, most of their friends tend to be colleagues. It's only natural, then, that work and personal relationships tangle up at some point, leading to anger and stress. Here are five ways to keep calm and carry on.
That thing you do
You're bound to have that one colleague who makes you dream of a calming walk right off the edge of a cliff. But in the spirit of making things work, focus on the behaviour of the person that sets your teeth on edge, instead of the person. Have a friendly, private chat with the person about the problematic behaviour, and try to work it out without name-calling and resentment.
What do you want from me?
Sometimes it's tempting to let all that rage loose when things get stressful, but more often than not, a tantrum at work can end badly for you. Anger is usually a surface emotion, a “fight” response to some deeper issue. Take a deep breathe, and really ask yourself why you're angry. Address the real issues, and you're getting somewhere closer to a solution.
Often, arguments arise from miscommunication. You meant one thing, the other person took it the wrong way, and it blew up from there. Nip the battle in the bud by checking in whether you're all on the same page, and then take it from there.
This is particularly true of email correspondence and online conversations. So much of the subtext and emotions get lost, that it's easy to read too much (or too little!) into what has been said, so check in with the other party when things start to get heated.
The other side
The one quality that can make or break a relationship – professional or otherwise, is empathy. So if your boss is throwing the book at you, sit on the temptation to call him something unflattering, and look at the situation from his point of view. Maybe he knows something you don't. Maybe there's a lot on his plate. Put yourself in the other person's shoes, and maybe you'll be less inclined to lose your mind.
An exit clause
Sometimes the situation just is that volatile, and it's impossible to keep a lid on your temper. Rather than get violent and lose control of the situation, remove yourself from the scene. Just leave the room and compose yourself. The very act of your leaving may be transgressive enough to change things, but in case it's not, it should give you some time to cool down, and get some distance.