9 Steps to Achieving Workplace Forgiveness

February 20th, 2015 3 Min read 9 Steps to Achieving Workplace Forgiveness Blog
happy-friendsYour boss passed you over for a promotion you deserved. A coworker steals your thunder and takes credit for your work. An unspoken competition with a teammate is making you miserable. Whatever the case may be, work can be a demanding place. In fact, people issues are the second-leading cause of workplace stress (behind workload), according to the American Institute of Stress. Here are nine steps to letting go of grudges and achieving workplace forgiveness.

1. Recognize what about the situation made you upset.

Talk to someone you trust about what happened and express your frustration, recognizing that what your coworker did, or is continuing to do, is not OK.

2. Commit to feeling better about the situation.

Anger about a workplace conflict, especially one you have no control over, only makes things worse. Promise yourself that you’ll do whatever it takes to feel better, whether it’s practicing relaxation techniques, limiting your interaction with that person or even taking up a new hobby that makes you happy. Forgiveness is about you, not anyone else.

happy-at-work3. Understand your goal of workplace happiness.

Remember that your goal is to feel better, not to reconcile with the person who upset you or condone their actions. Doing this helps you focus on your happiness rather than trying to fix the situation.

4. Keep perspective.

Recognize that you’re distressed because you’re feeling angry or hurt now, not as a result of what offended you a few days or even a few years ago. Address your current feelings and leave the past behind you.

5. Figure out how to calm yourself down in a healthy way.

Exercise, meditation or hobbies that stimulate your mind and help you unwind are great ways to refocus your energy and let your anger and frustration go.

6. Recognize your unenforceable rules.

An unenforceable rule is a law you create that you don’t really have the power to control, such as telling yourself that you worked really hard, so you will be promoted. Realize what you can control and what you can’t.

yoga-fun7. Find a positive goal.

Instead of replaying what happened over and over, figure out a new, positive way to get what you want, whether it’s a promotion, a raise or more respect from your coworkers.

8. Change the way you look at your coworkers and your workplace.

Train yourself to focus on the good aspects of your job and what your leaders and coworkers do well, instead of dwelling on negative feelings stirred up by your experiences.

9. Rewrite your grievance story.

You create a grievance story when you talk about a situation as a victim, blame someone else, take something personally or continue thinking about what happened. Make the decision to forgive and stop reliving your grievance story. Achieving workplace forgiveness allows you to be happier at work and more flexible when others hurt or offend you. It also helps you to develop positive work relationships and use your energy to reach both your personal and career goals. Learn more about dealing with employee stress in this post.


Lindsay Wilcox

Lindsay Wilcox

Lindsay Wilcox is a communication professional with experience writing for the healthcare and entertainment industries as well as local government. When she's not circling typos, she's enjoying fish tacos and hanging out with her family.

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