Learning to Be Diplomatic

July 8th, 2011

Being “diplomatic” is an excellent trait in many interpersonal circumstances. Diplomacy often involves analyzing a situation and knowing how to act or speak in a moderate way. It can include:

  • being decisive but non-confrontational in your language
  • thinking before you say or do some-thing
  • focusing upon facts
  • using neutral body language
  • being firm in your opinions
  • calling for “cooling off periods” if the situation becomes emotionally charged

Many sources of advice about diplomatic behaviors can be found online and in books. For leaders, diplomacy in the workplace might include setting specific goals and expectations, removing obstacles that might hinder a work team’s goals or level of success, modeling behavior that promotes success, defining accountability, and recognizing individual and team achievements.

Diplomacy helps people to communicate in a way that encourages positive feelings and respect. In “Being Diplomatic Without Sacrificing the Message,” by Christopher S. Frings, a manager notes that although he gets to the point in conversations and avoids preliminary pleasantries, he admits he comes across as pushy and has worked on his management style for many years.

One way to be diplomatic in the workplace is to recognize your own personality traits as well as those of your colleagues and to try to communicate in such a way that a colleague feels respected and is given incentive to do well. Good diplomatic strategies include knowing your staff, being open to ideas, avoiding gossip and public criticism, using humor to soften your image, and keeping your boss informed.

Be sure to check out FaithLink, a weekly downloadable discussion guide for classes and small groups. FaithLink motivates Christians to consider their personal views on important contemporary issues, and it also encourages them to act on their beliefs.

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