5 Steps to Ease Difficult Conversations with Coworkers

1.Include Them

1. Include Them

Everyone has faced workplace tension at one time or another. With different personalities trapped in an office all day long, disagreements and competition are sure to arise every now and again. You might even be forced to work on projects with someone you simply don’t get along with. The key to being professional is learning how to work with people despite your differences.

You can’t change your coworkers and you can’t change their actions but you can change how you interact with them. Here are some ways to ease communication with those pesky colleagues.

  1. Include Them

Your actions and communications should show your coworkers that you find them to be an equal and valuable member of the team. When meeting to discuss a project or brainstorm ideas, be sure to ask them to offer their thoughts. Speak of the group or pair as “we” instead of an “I” to let them know you see them as a partner, not an enemy.

  1. Give a Pat on the Back

If your colleague does a good job or has a particularly useful strength, congratulate them on it. Be sure your compliment sounds sincere and not patronizing.  If offered correctly, the compliment can go a long way to bridging the gap between you.

  1. Don’t Brag

If your boss gave you praise or a customer wrote a great review of your work, be modest. This is especially important if the person you have most tension with is particularly competitive. When communicating with this person, try to focus more on company or team successes and less on personal ones.

  1. Listen

Your input is not the only thing that matters in this scenario. Making it clear you’re interested in what someone else has to say is crucial to easing tension. If you don’t take an interest in their thoughts or, worse, interrupt or ignore them, you are most definitely not helping matters.

  1. Scale it Back

It’s true that even the people you think you can trust might not be trustworthy after all, so this is a good general stance to take with anyone. But easing tension between coworkers means protecting your own interests and that includes not sharing too much. If something you say can be turned around and used against you, be sure to keep it under wraps.

It may be difficult easing the tension with your coworkers but there are easy steps to take that can ensure you’ve taken the high road to success.


Do you need help increasing job visibility or improving your relationship with your boss or coworkers? My executive coaching services can help you hone your communication skills and clearly define your goals and objectives.

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