Have you heard that reaching a compromise just means that everybody's unhappy? In some cases, that's true. In fact, many conflict resolution experts claim that compromise should be the very last resort.
But, let's face it -- in the office, sometimes you just need to meet in the middle. If you're unwilling to bend, you'll only be stuck at a standstill. So, you swallow your pride and compromise.
Yes, compromise can be necessary. However, that doesn't always mean it's easy. Finding common ground with someone (especially if you start off incredibly far apart) can be a definite challenge to begin with.
And, not only that, but you also want to reach that agreement in a way that's as professional, productive, and friendly as possible. After all, hurt feelings and tense relationships won't do either of you any favors.
How do you pull that off? How can you reach a compromise without a hint of spite or passive aggressiveness? Start by staying far, far away from these three phrases.
1. "You Should..."
If you're attempting to achieve a compromise, then the arguing and finger pointing should be over. Instead, your focus should be on finding a shared plan that works for both of you.
But, that message isn't going to come through very clearly if you continue to stick that "you" word everywhere you can possibly fit it.
Continuing to direct statements at the other person makes it sound like you're doling out demands and instructions. Despite your compromise, you're making it known that you still want to be the one in charge.
Remember, this is an agreement between both of you. So, using "we" language is better. Rather than saying, "You should get started on..." swap it out with, "We should get started on..." You'll be surprised by how big of difference that small change can make
2. "Well, [Name] Said..."
Compromise can be tough. And, even though you know it's in your best interest to be a little flexible and participate in some give and take, it can still be tempting to try your best to win the other person over.
One of the ways we attempt to do this is by citing all of the people who think we're right. It's already been decided that you're not going to stick solely with your plan, but you're still going to let everybody know that Josh in marketing and Susan in accounting both thought your idea was better.
But, in the end, there's really no point in dragging other people into it with a big game of "he said, she said" -- compromising is complicated enough already. So, resist the urge to rally a hypothetical team behind you and just move forward with finding some common ground.
3. "Whatever You Want"
Compromising can be draining, which means it's often enough to inspire you to just throw your hands up and say, "Fine. Just do whatever you want!"
But, ultimately, that's a passive aggressive approach. Obviously, you're not alright with whatever the other person wants -- or you wouldn't even be in this situation to begin with.
Do your best to keep your cool, stay level-headed, and be as reasonable and rational as possible. In the end, getting frustrated and bent out of shape won't accomplish anything for you anyway.
Meeting in the middle is necessary from time to time. But, it can also be challenging. Make sure you avoid using these three phrases when compromising to do so in a way that's both professional and productive.