Maybe the two of you have clashed verbally in recent weeks. Did you disagree over something trivial? Or, did you fail to see eye-to-eye on an important project?
While a single event can cause tension, you and a co-worker might find that you’re caught up in “job competition.”
It can help to talk things over.
Preparing to talk
Examine your own part in the tension. Try to figure out how you might have contributed to it in any way.
In order to perceive more about the problem, be mature enough to ask: “Am I guilty of acting inappropriately?”
Schedule a time to talk with your co-worker. Tell her why you want to meet. This gives both of you time to prepare. For example, you might say, “I feel there’s a lot of tension between us. I’d like to talk about it, so that we can figure out how to reduce it.”
Rehearse what you will say. This will help you appear less emotional and more logical. It also might be helpful to “role play” with your spouse or a trusted friend. This will help you figure out what’s important to state and what’s better left unsaid.
As you rehearse for your meeting, listen carefully to your own voice. People are more influenced by how you say something than by what you say. Try to sound both helpful and professional in tone.
Getting a dialogue underway
As you speak with your co-worker, these suggestions should help you get on track:
Avoid emphasizing your differences. Work to build common ground every step of the way. Use words such as “we” and phrases such as “both of us”—implying that you’re working toward the same goals.