Office Politics

How to Handle Antagonism at Work

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"How to Handle Antagonism at Work"
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All workers would like to work in the ideal workplace, where colleagues are friendly, helpful and supportive to one another. Unfortunately, very few people work in such a workplace. Sometimes, you may encounter antagonism at work. It is unpleasant, unsettling, and makes for bad relationships and a bad atmosphere at work and this lowers productivity and morale. It feels as if, like a grenade from which the pin has been removed, it is about to explode any minute. Like all problems, it is best to deal with antagonism sooner rather than later.

The other person is not the whole cause of any problem. You cannot change other people but you can change the interaction between you. Look at your own behaviour; have you done anything to occasion your colleagues’ antagonism? Perhaps you have upset someone unintentionally or unthinkingly. Perhaps, you have not been paying attention to how you speak to colleagues; you might have been tactless, disrespectful or unkind without meaning to be. Sometimes, when we are very happy, we ramble on about our own happiness and satisfaction with the World in general and, wrapped up in ourselves, fail to notice that someone else is not having as good a time as we are. Hearing constantly about someone else's happiness, when your own life is falling apart, emphasizes your unhappiness and can result in antagonism towards the happy person.

You might have become a bit too full of yourself and your abilities. You need to show your colleagues that you think that their opinions are important too. Practice a little humility. Your colleagues may be tired of your boasting and self-satisfaction.

Do you gossip? Nothing upsets people more than a gossip, especially one who indulges themselves in salacious, speculative and untrue gossip about colleagues. Guard your tongue.

You may come across as antagonistic to others and they are only mirroring your behaviour to them.

Perhaps you have been selfish, expecting help from your colleagues with your work but not offering your help. You might have been overly critical and hurt someones feelings. Perhaps you need to pay attention to your manners and the way you treat people. If you treat colleagues disrespectfully or inconsiderately, you will occasion antagonism.

You need to alter your behaviour if you want the antagonism to stop. Any problem in any human relationship is rarely all the other person's fault. Relationships whether at work or outside are a two way street. Colleagues are rarely antagonistic without reason. Examine your own behaviour scrupulously and change what needs to be changed. You may find that you have an apology to make, do it quickly and unreservedly. Actions speak louder than words by changing your own behaviour you can change how others react to you and you will stop antagonism at work.

More about this author: Maria C Collins

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