Before You Retaliate

Before you retaliate

It’s almost instinctive to yell back or to be offended at someone who is yelling at you—be it a co-worker or a manager. But yelling back or arguing accomplishes little. It can destroy a business relationship and certainly dims your professional image. So before you respond to a verbal attack, keep these things in mind.

  • Figure out what’s really going on. In each of the following cases, compassion—not retaliation—is in order.
  • Every one is liable to blow up during a rough day at work. If the person yelling at you isn’t known as a chronic jerk, then consider that the source of the blow-up could stem other reasons and not personal.
  • Consider that some people are just socially inept and know no other way to communicate.
  • Then, there are some people who crave the attention and know that yelling or being aggressive is one way to get it.
  • Listen before you leap to conclusions. Assume first that what a person is saying is true. More often than not, we tend to start making a list of what’s wrong with a person and miss the opportunity to really find out what’s at issue. At that point, no one is listening to what the other is saying.
  • Stay neutral. Instead of adding fuel to the argument by yelling back, deflect the hostilities. Don’t walk away. Instead, demonstrate a neutral position. Answer in a calm, steady voice or give an inane answer. It usually stops an argument cold.
  • And don’t handle this via email. Take advantage of a Human Moment.

Forgiving is not forgetting; it’s letting of go of anger and hurt and moving on. Take time. It’s not easy to forgive with both your head and heart.

– Joan Burge

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