We Cool? Your Guide to Avoiding Fights at Work

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Fights at work are never pleasant. In this week's Money Talking management conversation, WNYC's Business Editor Charlie Herman speaks with two experts who write and work with Harvard Business Review about how to stay composed during workplace kerfuffles and how to deal with office hotheads. Annie McKee is an executive coach, senior fellow at the University of Pennsylvania and co-author of Primal Leadership: Unleashing the Power of Emotional Intelligence. Here are a few of her pieces of advice. 

  • "Conflict at work can be really healthy and good. What we want to avoid are the dysfunctional conflicts and fights."
  • "Most of us have issues, and we bring those issues to work. A lot of people are just plain insecure."
  • "If you've got a co-worker or a boss who likes to throw word bombs across the table at meetings and little jabs and little digs all the time, you want to be sure that you understand that that's not about you, that's about them."

Linda Hill is a professor of business administration at the Harvard Business School and author of Being the Boss: The 3 Imperatives for Becoming a Great Leader. She says it's important to choose the right words when communicating with colleagues. But before you speak, you've got to listen. 

  • "What you want to do in these conversations initially is make sure you understand what the conflict is really about." 
  • "It's not about having the last word. It's about coming up with the right solution or the right answer."

To hear the full conversation, click on the audio above or read more from McKee and Hill. And if you have tips you'd like to share, leave us a comment below or send an email.