Burning your bridges at work can impact your career negatively in many ways. It can give you a reputation that won’t serve you in the long run, and you may end connections which could be beneficial to you later on. Here are 5 ways to avoid doing this.

Respond, don’t react

By learning how to respond instead of reacting to work situations, you can maintain your composure even in chaotic moments. The first step is recognising when you’re reacting out of your emotions or out of habit. Once you start recognising this, the next step is to pause and think before reacting. This can take time and practice, but it’s a valuable skill to learn as it’ll save you from a lot of unnecessary conflict.

Aim to understand

Sometimes, misunderstandings can happen at work which is why it’s good to give the benefit of the doubt to the person or people in question. For example, you may have thought that a co-worker was being intentionally rude to you, when they may have just been having a very bad day and not realised how they were coming across. Understanding other people doesn’t mean you give them permission to mistreat you, but it can help you avoid conflict and not take things too personally when it’s not needed.

Be the bigger person

Being respectful isn’t always easy to do- especially if you’ve been disrespected. However, being the bigger person will benefit you at work, and it’s a sign of strength and maturity. This advice depends on your individual situation, though. If your rights are being violated, such as if you’re experiencing sexual harassment or prejudice in the workplace, then you have every right to take the issue up further.

Have long-term thinking

We’re used to seeing dramatic scenes of people quitting their jobs in movies and on TV. But the reality is that the best way to leave a company or quit your job is calm, respectful and polite. It might seem satisfying to make a dramatic exit, but the long-term consequences of that aren’t worth it. Even if you feel like you’ll never see your boss or co-workers ever again, you can never be sure. Consider the long-term consequences and you’ll find that in most situations, keeping calm and staying respectful is the way to go.

Work is a place you’ll spend a lot of time at, and occasional disagreements are completely normal. But they’re usually not worth ruining your professional relationships over. Make choices that will benefit you in the long run. You should stand up for yourself, but also know when it’s better to let things go.

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