For you to feel safe—and for others to feel safe around you—at work, it’s important that you develop the ability to maintain your composure when your 'buttons' are being pushed.

Certain factors tend to go hand-in-hand with work-related stress. Some common workplace stressors are:

  • Low salaries.
  • Excessive workloads.
  • Few opportunities for growth or advancement.
  • Work that isn't engaging or challenging.
  • Lack of social support.
  • Not having enough control over job-related decisions.
  • Conflicting demands or unclear performance expectations.

So, how can you keep cool when you feel under pressure, and help others to do the same. The following practical suggestions can help:

1. When you need to express negative emotions, do it in person or at least via the phone. Emails, text messages, answering machine messages, and notes can easily come across as heavy or impersonal. Speaking calmly and kindly in person can help temper any negative comments that need to be aired.

2. Generously use the phrase, "I understand". This expression will help you find common ground with the other party. Show that you understand the person’s position by repeating back to them a summary of what they said.

3. Resist the temptation to defend yourself by cutting the other person off. Imagine yourself as a mediator or counsellor in the discussion. If you can listen and respond in this way you will bring peace and solutions to the conflict more quickly.

4. Watch out for 'blame-shifting' leaking into your speech. "I feel upset when you …" is much better than, "You make me so mad when you …"

5. When you feel wild with intense feelings, such as rage, wait a few days to cool down emotionally. The passing of time will help you to be more objective about the issues and to analyse the situation more clearly.


When you speak with patience and kindness, others will feel safe around you and will likely want to please you. In short, it will help you to succeed in your relationships at work.


What will meeting rooms look like in the future?