No one likes the idea of confrontation, but sometimes it’s necessary. Why? Because if you’ve really been wronged and you don’t address it, you’ll get stressed out. That means you increase your risk for sleep problems, depression and other stress related illnesses. Rhonda Scharf, the author and producer of the video Dealing with Difficult People, says there’s a simple test for knowing if you should confront someone: If you replay the offense in your mind more than twice, it’s time to clear the air. So, here’s her take on what to do when someone steps on your toes:

  • Know what you want. Let’s say someone takes credit for your work on a project. You probably want a “thank you” and some recognition, right? Good – you’ve pinpointed it.
  • Before you approach the other person, boil the issue down to one or two fact-based sentences. The emphasis here is on fact-based. Sharf says this isn’t about venting your frustration or starting an argument – it’s about getting the desired result. So, you could say, “I noticed my name wasn’t on the sales report. I’d like you to send an email noting that I organized the data.” Your name not being on the report is a FACT. You organizing the data is a FACT.  
  • Once you’ve made your initial statement: Allow the other person to respond. Usually, they’ll apologize and agree to clear things up, but if they don’t, chalk it up to experience. Do what you can to make sure it doesn’t happen again. You can say something like, “I’d appreciate it if you’d acknowledge my efforts in the future.” That way, they know you’re aware of their slight, and that you’ll be paying attention to their actions from now on.
  • You don’t want to start a fight. So, if the other person gets defensive or refuses to apologize, excuse yourself by saying, “I don’t want to argue. I just wanted to get that off my chest.” You’ll be the bigger person, and feel better for having spoken up. Again – they’ll know you’re watching.