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Grace Under Fire – Maintaining Professionalism In The Face Of Conflict

All [tag]virtual assistants[/tag] have had those terrible moments when we’re so angry, we just want to lash out and scream at someone.  In the virtual world, that often translates into an angry e-mail, instant message, or discussion board entry.  This type of behavior can be a career killer. 

In her article on AYS Virtual Assistant Blog entitled “Wounding With Words,” Nora Rubinoff explains that while it’s understandable that an intensely frustrated person needs to vent, “using cruel words is never a good or ethical choice.” She explains that aside from the hurtful aspect of a nasty e-mail, you are also leaving a permanent written record of your tyrade, with your name attached.  To the angry and frustrated, she offers these alternatives:

“Talk to a friend. Do you have an understanding friend (or perhaps spouse) that you can reach out to? Ask if they have time to listen, and tell them you are frustrated and need to vent.

Type it and file it. Sometimes a great way to let off steam is to type out your vent, then file it and walk away. You’ll feel better getting it off your chest, and no one will be injured by reading cruel or offensive words.

Take a walk! You’ve heard it time and again. I’m telling you that this solution works — walk away from the computer, phone or what have you. If you’re in a face to face situation, ask for a few minutes to gather your thoughts. Then take 10 minutes and walk, alone. Breathe deeply. Then come back to your situation with a fresh and calmed down head.

Get physical. This is another one that works well. Go blow off a few minutes of your steam by pushing a lawnmower, digging in your garden or stacking some wood. Venting through physical activity always has a double bonus — your body reaps the benefits of activity and you can scratch a chore or two off your list.

Try an environmentally soothing technique. I found a great recording on iTunes of wind chimes, nothing but wind chimes, blowing in the breeze. (Artist is David Sun; album is Songs of the Earth) It is remarkable how much more calm I feel when I have this as a background noise in my office. Or try lighting a soothing scented candle or using another type of aromatherapy such as oils, mists or a cup of tea. ”

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  1. 1 Comment(s)

  2. By jamesb on Feb 22, 2009 | Reply

    I do not think that this only applies to virtual assistants. It can happen to any type of employee. You are right however that you should control your emotions and try to let it slide. You can always talk with friends or family about if after work.

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