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Advice, please.
Old 05-14-2010, 11:41 PM   #1
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Advice, please.

Hi all,

Basically I need to know how to grow up.

What do you do in a professional working relationship when you realize you've treated someone without respect but you also feel that they have not treated you with respect?

I think the childish answers might be:

a. Expect them to apologize first.
b. Apologize in a half-hearted or back-handed way so they know you're sorry but they should be sorry too.
c. Simmer resentfully / sulk.

The only grown-up answer I can think of is to apologize for your own behavior and work towards treating them with respect.

I'm just not sure I can do that without eventually exploding in a childish "It's not fair" tantrum.

This is a particularly challenging topic for me because this was the same problem I had in my marriage. And the inescapable conclusion is that it's not my ex-wife and my co-worker, but it's me. Kinda hard to swallow.

Any and all advice welcome.

2Cor521
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Old 05-15-2010, 02:33 AM   #2
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Well, at least you have acknowledged you have a problem...

I can tell you that as far as work goes.... I just don't let anything bother me... so I don't get into these situations...

But IMO, it is best to apologize and walk away... but be sincere... mean it... it will make you feel better when you get it off you brain....

When something else happens that would make you do it again... just smile at them and give a little laugh... it goes a long way in making them feel like a chump...
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Old 05-15-2010, 06:22 AM   #3
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some of the best advice i ever received was from a dear friend who was dying from cancer: "forgive everybody all the time for everything, life's too short for resentments".
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Old 05-15-2010, 08:01 AM   #4
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Acknowledge your behaviour. Donít explain, justify, excuse or rationalize. Just acknowledge, commit to an effective working relationship, and walk away. Donít expect a response in kind. If you get one, great. Donít get into details. Just walk away and get back to work.

Conflict at work is usually a lose-lose situation.
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Old 05-15-2010, 08:24 AM   #5
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Acknowledge your behaviour. Donít explain, justify, excuse or rationalize. Just acknowledge, commit to an effective working relationship, and walk away. Donít expect a response in kind. If you get one, great. Donít get into details. Just walk away and get back to work.

Conflict at work is usually a lose-lose situation.
+1
Don't look for an acknowledgment that the other party is also to blame. Your action will appear (and probably is) insincere if you do so. Even if you get no verbal response you may see a change in behavior over time -- or not.
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Old 05-15-2010, 08:29 AM   #6
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When I apologize, and when I forgive, it is as much for my own benefit as for the benefit of the other person. Carrying around guilt for my own bad behavior, or anger over a perceived slight from another person, is injurious to my own peace of mind. I can let those feelings go by apologizing or forgiving. And then I can move on with my life.
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Old 05-15-2010, 08:39 AM   #7
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And, based on your screen name, let me suggest that Matthew 6:12 may prove helpful to you. We are forgiven only to the extent we are willing to forgive others.
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Old 05-15-2010, 11:23 AM   #8
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What do you do in a professional working relationship when you realize you've treated someone without respect but you also feel that they have not treated you with respect?
If they are the one that 'dissed' me first, I would not apologize but would begin to treat them the way I want to be treated.
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Old 05-15-2010, 12:05 PM   #9
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And, based on your screen name....
I've been thinking about starting a thread, "What did you learn today?" All this time I've been trying to make OP's screen name fit the idea that it is about a beloved Corvette.

I remember a time a client had reason to apologize and a busy manager told her to, "fix it immediately."
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Old 05-15-2010, 03:47 PM   #10
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First of all, don't aspire to "grow up". Think young always.

Now...to your w*rk situation.
If this person is a peer, and you both "messed up", I would go to them when nobody else is around, i.e. 1 person to 1 person. Extend your right hand as if wanting to shake hands, verbally acknowledge you both MAY HAVE made a mistake (deliver this VERY gracefully if you can or just say "I made a mistake"), and say something neutral like we can "Agree to disagree".
Your body language should be open, not tensed, even try smiling a little, and maintain constant eye contact. If they do not respond or refuse the hand shake, just finish your verbal delivery nicely and walk away slowly.
If this person is a supervisor, you need to do same but be even more professional. You cannot say "we both messed up" because that will be threatening to someone in charge.
Good luck and let us know how it went.
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Old 05-15-2010, 10:32 PM   #11
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My Dad had a useful way of looking at these things. He said the point of life is not to win each round, but to still be standing at the end.

All human interaction is nuanced and when it goes badly there are usually several ways of explaining the failure. I agree with the other members who say apologize, mean it, and go on with life. You don't really have to think that the misunderstanding was your fault, or mostly your fault, you only have to drop consideration of fault and concentrate on smoothing the way forward.

There are a lot of things I don't do very well, but this one is actually fairly easy for me. It really helps if you try to make friends, or at least to avoid making enemies.

Ha
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Old 05-15-2010, 11:31 PM   #12
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Might try saying...I think I was out of line the other day and I wanted to let you know. Maybe follow with, I want to handle things differently in the future.

You could always have a cup of Starbucks (maybe even a danish) in your hand as a peace offering.

I've seen guys have some pretty heavy disagreements at work, but it seems like once the disagreement is over, its over...maybe a trip to the coffee bar, or one will invite the other to join him for a beer after work or make plans to play golf...some kind of bonding stuff...keep the team intact.

If the disagreement was over a personal matter, make it a large Starbucks! If he fails to be pleasant, give him the coffee and just say...I regret the way I behaved the other day and retreat to your desk. Either way, you can feel good that you are taking positive steps to change some things you don't like about yourself.

Good luck!
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