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Non-Confrontational Tendencies in the Workplace

Being non-confrontational might seem like the nice way to be, but instead of making you well liked, it can make you a “pushover.” See our preceding article on being non-confrontational which serves as the basis for this article.

The workplace presents a special set of circumstances since bringing up hurt feelings could be seen as whiny behavior—this could lead to being passed over for promotions and even loss of employment if not done correctly.

Voicing your opinion on every little concern endangers your hope of promotion or keeping your job. The key is to keep your confrontations to a minimum—selecting the most important, valid issues.

You likely are seeing only your side of the problem. Your boss/manager might be basing their decision on business needs—in which case their decisions are unavoidable and not intended to make your life difficult. However, your boss is a human being and since people aren’t perfect, decisions may be based on petty concerns and favoritism to others.

Try to understand your boss’ point of view and analyze the facts behind their decision. Before approaching the situation, be calm and think of the situation not as a conflict, but as an opportunity to open a positive dialogue. For example, if an important assignment was given to a co-worker, think about the information your boss had in determining who would receive the assignment.

“I’m upset/I can’t believe you chose someone over me!” Would be better expressed as “I believe I would have been a better choice for this assignment because I have (increased revenue by …%, etc.). If you don’t have a solid example on which to base your point, this may be why you were overlooked.

In personal life, someone close to you can reveal their motivations, even if it results in a painful discussion, but due to legal ramifications, your boss might not be allowed to reveal certain facts.

Even if there is a good reason certain decisions were not made in your favor, you can always talk to your boss about the fact that you are interested in certain opportunities. For example: “I wanted to be part of that project. I’d like to know what I can improve so that I can be selected for the next one.” From the discussion that will follow, you may find that you have overlooked an area for improvement. By voicing your concerns, you are showing ambition and an interest in improvement. By showing this ambition or making a strong case for why you are an excellent choice for increased responsibility, it could increase the chances that you will be selected for an upcoming opportunity.

For additional help with non-confrontational tendencies, call CrossRoads at 317-842-8881 if you are in Indianapolis/Central Indiana.