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Campus & Community

Five to Thrive 11/11/2019

Your Weekly Tips for Workplace Success

By Thriving Workplace Initiative Staff

Illustration of three stars on a green background

Illustration by Creative Strategies

Illustration by Creative Strategies

UMD’s Thriving Workplace Initiative is making the University of Maryland a great place to work by providing tools and support to foster engaged, inclusive and empowered faculty and staff across campus.

Each Monday, its Five to Thrive list offers five strategies crowdsourced from research, experts and our own UMD community to help your workplace thrive.

With the 2019 elections in the rearview mirror, TWI is turning to a different sort of politics: office politics. Here are some tips for handling differing opinions, conflicts of interest, and other points of contention in the workplace:

  • Respond rather than react. Reactions are instinctual and unfiltered. Responses require you to pause and think. While a reaction might give you immediate satisfaction, it could be detrimental long-term for others—and you.
  • Be the neutral party. If caught in the middle of two opposing opinions, avoid taking sides. Instead, bring both people together to focus on what’s best for the mission. That can help keep the conversation productive and non-contentious.
  • Demonstrate behaviors you’d like to see in your workplace. This might mean making an extra effort to recognize co-workers, engaging in acts of kindness, being more transparent or listening more closely. Even one person has the power to effect change in office culture.
  • If you’ve been maligned in the office, resist the urge to retaliate. If the incident requires a private conversation, do so constructively, then move forward.
  • Establish a personal no-gossip policy. Office gossip and rumors are unfair, can damage office culture and relationships, and hurt productivity. If you’re on the receiving end, politely remove yourself from the conversation. If gossiping is a weakness for you, identify a designated (and non-affiliated) friend or family member who you can confide in outside of work.  

Want more tips? Visit the Thriving Workplace Resource Library here or sign up for Food for Thought Friday, which delivers strategies to your inbox each week. Send an email to with the subject listserv to subscribe.


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