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如何避免职场中的尴尬对话

How to avoid awkward conversations at work
如何避免职场中的尴尬对话

For the last 11 years, I’ve written a workplace advice column, answering people’s letters on everything from how to tell a manager your workload is too high to what to do about a colleague who smells.

过去11年里,我一直在写职场建议专栏,专门解答各种邮件提问,譬如如何告诉经理你的工作量太大,或是同事有体味该怎么办。

One of the biggest themes I’ve seen in my mail in that time is that a lot of people want to know – how do I get my boss or my colleague to change their behavior without me actually having to talk to them about it? In other words, an awful lot of us are hoping that there will be some sort of magical spell that will let us solve problems without ever having to use our words. People really want to avoid direct conversations, especially if there’s any potential for awkwardness.

在这11年间,大家最想知道的一个问题是,如何可以不直接说就让老板或同事做出改变?换句话说,很多人都希望有种神奇的咒语,让我们不用说话就能解决问题。人们真心不希望直接对话,特别是在对话可能产生尴尬的时候。
 

To some extent, it’s understandable. After all, your job is your livelihood, and you need to remain on good terms with your colleagues – and especially with your boss – or your life can become much less pleasant. But what I see in my mail is that people shy away from even minor conversations that are highly unlikely to end badly.

在某种程度上,这是可以理解的。毕竟你的工作就是你的生计,你需要与同事,特别是与老板保持良好关系,否则生活可能会变得很糟。但是我在邮件中看到,就算是几乎不可能造成不愉快的几句简单交谈,人们也避之不及。

For example, I’ve heard from people who stew in silence for months rather than asking a colleague to please stop taking all their calls on speakerphone, or to turn down a loud cellphone ring. I’ve heard from people who spend way too long tolerating physically uncomfortable working conditions – like a painful chair or an air freshener that literally nauseates them – rather than have a quick conversation with the person who could fix it. I’ve even heard from people – multiple people – who end up doing work long after they leave a job – for free – because they’re so hesitant to say, “This isn’t something I can help with anymore.” Or even, “Let’s talk about what payment rate makes sense for this work.”

例如,有人宁愿默默煎熬几个月,都不愿直接请同事别再用免提接电话,或是调低手机铃声的音量。有人长期忍受着让身体不舒服的工作条件,比如坐着疼的椅子,或是真的让人想吐的空气清新剂,也不愿与能够解决问题的人说上两句。我甚至从很多人那里都听说,他们在离职后很长一段时间还在为前公司无偿工作,因为犹犹豫豫,说不出“这不再是我的工作。”或是“我做这些工作该如何计算薪酬?”

And even managers, who have the clear authority to speak up when they want something to change, can be some of the worst offenders when it comes to shying away from direct conversation. My mail is full of letters from managers who are frustrated with some aspect of an employee’s work but haven’t actually sat down with the person and told them what they want to see change… even though doing that is their job!

即使是那些显然有权提出要求的管理者,也可能最会避免直接对话。我经常能收到管理者的邮件,说他们对员工工作的某些方面感到沮丧,但他们并没有和员工坐下来谈一谈,说明他想看到什么改变,而这么做原本就是是管理者的职责所在!

While certainly no one looks forward to a conversation that might be awkward or uncomfortable, the reality is that you’ll get far better results in your professional life – and usually have far better quality of life at work – if you’re willing to speak up and ask for what you want. Of course, that doesn’t mean speaking up in an aggressive or adversarial way, which seems to be what people sometimes imagine they’d have to do. Instead, the idea is to speak up calmly and matter-of-factly – in a tone similar to the one that you’d use to say “I can’t seem to get this software to work” or “could you help me solve this problem with a client?” In other words, it’s the tone you’d use if you were trying to solve any other work-related problem and you been stewing to yourself for weeks about it.

毫无疑问,没人想要一场可能会尴尬或不舒服的谈话,但如果你愿意直言不讳地提出要求,职业生涯会更有建树,而且通常也能提高工作方面的生活质量。当然,直接对话并不意味着要咄咄逼人或是有敌对情绪,有些人可能以为得这么做。但恰恰相反,我们需要心平气和且就事论事地表达诉求,语气就好比在说“我好像用不了这个软件”,或是“你能帮我解决一下这个客户的问题吗”,跟解决一个几周都没搞定的工作问题时的语气一样。

If you do that, you’re likely to find that most people are reasonable. Most people want to know if they’re doing something that’s aggravating you or making you unhappy – or in the case of that air freshener, making you physically ill. Most people won’t be upset that you initiated a calm, polite conversation about what you need, and you’re not going to come across as a jerk to reasonable people.

如果你这样做了,就会发现大多数人都是讲理的。大部分人都想知道是否做了让别人烦心或者不高兴的事,或是引起了别人身体不适——比如那个空气清新剂。如果你平和礼貌地表达诉求,大多数人不会不高兴,而且讲道理的人也不会觉得你自私无理。

Of course, not everyone is reasonable – but most people are, and if you try it, the conversation is far more likely than not to go well and get you the outcome you want.

当然,并不是每个人都讲理,但大多数是的,而且如果你尝试对话,会发现直接沟通很可能会顺利进行,并且获得你想要的结果。
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