If I Can Get a Word in Edgewise

I love reading advice columns and one of my favorite columnists is Carolyn Hax. This particular headline caught my attention.  The writer needed help setting boundaries with a friend who has a hard time with social cues, constantly interrupts and dominates conversations.  

Setting boundaries at work is more important than ever as workplaces have become relaxed and informal. In fact, we think that boundaries are so important, we talked about them in The Essential Workplace Conflict Handbook on page 176. Boundaries define limits -- where you end and the other person begins. They help to define and manage interpersonal relationships. Often times you can be dealing with a socially inept friend or coworker, but other times the offending individual may be crossing boundaries very deliberately. Either way, the behavior needs to be addressed. 

You may, like the writer seeking Hax’s advice, struggle with what to say when your boundaries are invaded. That's where The Conflict Resolution Phrase Book can help. On page 126 there are examples of things that you can say to send the right message. 

What about interrupting? Is it ever acceptable?  Of course there are, especially if you must get a word in edgewise. There will be times when you need to get a conversation back on track. Other times you need to ask for clarity. In either situation, interruptions should be delivered with grace and dignity. 

April is Workplace Conflict Awareness Month. We've collected some of the blogs we've written about conflict and incorporated them into an e-book, Managing Conflict at Work. You can download it from our website www.essentialworkplaceconflicthandbook.com. 

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