Vincy Workplace
June 7, 2013

Four simple ways to fight fair

The Ms SVG show which occurred last week brought a flurry of activity on social media platforms with comments from across the globe, some of which were just simply mean-spirited. Although this was a beauty pageant, it was the perfect backdrop to observe how people behave when they don’t get what they expect, feel attacked or feel the need to defend a position or person, which brings me to this week’s article.{{more}} Do you know how to fight fair? Or are most of your disagreements a knockdown, drag-out verbal fight with a highway of busted egos, reputations and feelings? Whether it’s a simple misunderstanding on the job or a matter between friends and acquaintances, be mindful of these simple fair-fighting suggestions.

1. Assess the situation. Before you jump into a verbal fight, ask yourself if it’s worth your time, effort and energy. If a conflict can be avoided by simply remaining quiet, it might not be a bad idea. If you decide to enter the discussion, then be clear on your reasons for doing so and what you expect to gain or contribute to the discussion.

2. Address the issue, not the person. More often than not, we are upset with an individual’s behaviour or remarks and the impact on others. If so, then stay on topic and address the issue. Avoid personal attacks that are meant to be hurtful, that belittle an individual and add no real value except to tout your mean-spirited attitude.

3. Keep it clean. I had a supervisor once who, in her frustration, used profanity laced comments towards me in a phone conversation. Her profanity did nothing to motivate or threaten me; instead, it simply showcased her limited vocabulary in stressful situations and her inability to manage her emotions. Do you find yourself resorting to profanity to add impact to your words? You might want to reconsider your words.

4. Leave a door open. Fighting fair means it’s important to recognize that the world is very, very small and a nasty verbal altercation with someone today can later prove to be an unwise decision, especially over trivial matters. We never know where our paths may cross again with people; so, as you engage in heated debates, make sure it never gets to the point where the substance of the discussion is lost. The person you dislike today may very well be the individual in a position of power to help you later. End the disagreement on a civil note, as a sign of maturity and common decency.

Karen Hinds is “The Workplace Success Expert.” For a FREE SPECIAL REPORT on Avoiding Career Killers in the Workplace, send an email to

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