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Practicing Diplomacy in the Workplace

January 2003Part of your job success depends on how well you relate to your manager and coworkers. Strong working relationships are good for morale and can make you more effective in your position.

Throughout your career, you'll need to collaborate on projects and excel on both an individual and team basis.
In every business situation, diplomacy and tact are the secrets to a successful outcome. Here are five suggestions for gaining a reputation as an office diplomat:
  1. Get to know people. Learn about the demands and pressures your coworkers face. Also understand their strengths and the areas where your expertise may benefit their efforts.

  2. Be a team player. While still managing your own assignments, offer to help colleagues who may need assistance. In turn, don't be afraid to ask for help when you need it and make sure to share the credit for the project's success.

  3. Avoid spreading negativity. Don't talk behind others' backs, including via e-mail. Also resist sending a memo or message when you're angry. Actions such as gossiping and responding in the heat of the moment harm working relationships and damage morale, often permanently.

  4. Don't criticize in public. Solve problems behind closed doors to keep these issues from affecting the entire department.

  5. Work through the chain of command. Consult with your manager first if you are having difficulties -- don't go over his or her head. If there is tension between you and your immediate supervisor, try to resolve the conflict. If you and your boss cannot come to an understanding or if you are uncomfortable discussing a situation with your supervisor, consult your company's human resources department.
It's a relatively straightforward task to master the latest software application or to become familiar with a new policy at work, but it's more of a challenge to become known as a master communicator. For those who make the effort, though, the career rewards can be tremendous.
Return to Career Counselor for more articles like this.

2003 SmartPros Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

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