We all have been offended at one time or the other by a workmate or a business partner in ways we have felt demeaned and disrespected. Same way we have been offended, we have also not once but many times crossed someone’s line.
We spend about 8 hours of office environment every day, stuck to our tasks and communicating with different people and at times performing tasks we don’t feel like doing. The truth being that everyday we deal with myriad of personalities. From dealing with attitudes changing as fast as the weather, to being under pressure to compete for advancement while rearranging the rest of your busy life... how can you not take things personally at work? But here is how I think you can stop taking things personally at work when offended;
#1 Take time with yourself before reacting
When we are offended beyond our emotions, we can quickly lose control to respond. Yet it may be hard to deliver the right message where you are responding with your emotions. Even though at that moment it can hurt, take some time out when facing a situation you risk to take things personally. It gives you the opportunity to analyze and explore more professional words and timing when you can talk out with a co-worker or your boss where you felt offended.
I am sure everyone would better understand if you told them that you felt offended in the way they communicated to you. It might be same day as you knock off, a text in the evening or even the next day yet talking it to them in a calm and polite way. It is always better to step away, take a breather and evaluate an offending situation rather than responding thereon.
#2 Analyse what the situation really means to you
What does this annoying co-worker really mean to you? Is about the promotion that was just given to someone else when you felt you were much more qualified? What situation are you really taking personally?
Evaluate what that means to you and if you should put so much mental and emotional energy into it. Does it even matter to take it personally or it is just going to drain you? Then why take it personally anyway?
I remember at one of my previous employers, I applied for an internal vacancy which, out of 4 who did the interviews, someone else was picked. We were furious. Then as if it was not enough, our supervisor requested me to train the newly recruit in performing some computer task. I didn’t wait to answer later. While facing my boss, I told him that I needed the same job and you found me incompetent and it really didn’t make sense that I had to train or help the most competent guy they choose at the end of the day. I didn’t last 4 months. I made new resolutions which included quitting my job and getting back to school!
#3 Gain clarity then respond
After taking time out and asking yourself what the situation at hand really means to you, seek to clarify it first. Ask your co-worker, team or boss the necessary questions to clarify what’s happeningif it begs answers. Once you get enough information, then you can decide on the course of action to follow. Remember, a sober well thought response is better than a quick one.
One of the biggest challenges in a workplace is balancing up your workplace friendliness and choosing what others should know about you because the more you talk about your life, the higher the chances you leave others to cross the line in offending you.Dennis Hope Mzumara
If you have a tendency to take things personally, you should know it can wreak havoc on your career or business. Sometimes it is not even your fault. That co-worker or boss just loves to cross the line. While at some point, it is very fine to feel offended, it is also to note that it may only affect your level of productivity in putting yourself through mental and emotional discourse.
As much as our careers are part of our lives, and vice versa, having a healthy separation between the two helps enrich each one, instead of putting too much weight on each. Learn to let work be work and your personal life be your personal life.
Of course, there are times when they intersect. Yet, in the midst of the confusion, challenges and victories of life and work, tracing a clear line of demarcation between the moments we experience is key to our sanity and ultimately to our success.