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How to Mend a Work Relationship

https://hbr.org/2020/02/how-to-mend-a-work-relationship

hbr.org

How to Mend a Work Relationship
Executive Summary When work relationships fracture, even just temporarily, they become major sources of frustration. Left unchecked, even a small conflict can spiral out of control, leading to anger and resentment. That's why managers and employees need to be able to manage and rebound from these conflicts.

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Strong work relationships

Workplaces are communities. Healthy relationships can be a source of energy, learning, and support. When they break down, they become sources of frustration that harm people and organizations.

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Reset the emotional tone

When we notice some tension in your work relationships, it is better to reset the emotional tone rather than pulling away. Do this by bringing up positive memories with your colleague, which can strengthen your bond and counterbalance the negative feelings so you can express them effectively.

The purpose is to create a supportive environment where you can talk about the issues without creating further damage to your relationship.

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Re-establish a positive emotional tone

  • Raise the issue. "I know that we are not seeing eye-to-eye on this issue right now, and it is upsetting for both of us, but I'm really optimistic we can work this out."
  • Suggest a time out or try a brief topic change.
  • Commit to a shared relationship goal. Agree that your relationship is important and that you both want to restore mutual positive feelings.
  • Craft your shared narrative to increase the willingness to forgive and reconcile. Reflect on how both your actions contributed to the failure. Assume the best about the other person's intentions.

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Crafting a shared narrative

  • What went wrong? Find out from the other person, then offer your own perspective. Don't get defensive.
  • It's about us, not me or you.
  • Reflect on your positive history, your shared successes, as well as how you worked through hard times together.

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Build relational agility

Be willing to try new ways of interacting with each other, known as relational agility.

  • Plan to improvise. Think ahead to potential objections to ensure you can respond in the moment.
  • When the unexpected happens, pay attention and get curious Instead of getting defensive, ask yourself "why?" Try to pinpoint what is triggering for you. Strong reactions tell us that the other person feels under attack.

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Begin from a place of curiosity

Lean into the conversation from a place of curiosity and respect (for yourself and the other person). 

Even when the subject of the conversation is difficult, the interaction can ...

Listen and observe

Focus on what you’re hearing, not what you’re saying. Genuine attention and neutrality encourage people to elaborate.

You don’t actually need to talk that much during a difficult conversation. Instead, learn to listen, reflect and observe.

Be direct

Address uncomfortable situations head-on by getting right to the point.

Foster an honest and respectful discussion and make sure both parties speak about the details of an issue. 

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See Relationships Like A Therapist

Relationships nowadays are regularly in the doldrums, with certain factors that tend to ruin them. These same factors can be ‘reverse-engineered’ to help us strengthen and improve these relations.

Validate, Not Solve

When someone talks about their problems, we are jumping in the problem-solving mode straight away. While dealing with people, this approach can backfire. A better approach is to just listen and validate their struggles, make them feel heard and understood.

Actions Have Underlying Functions

Many times, the external appearance of behaviour isn’t the full story and has underlying functions. It is just a symptom and not the problem.

Example: When a teenager is mad for no reason, it helps to understand the underlying problems they usually have in this age, and be compassionate.

Interpersonal Issues

When it happens in the workplace, it can reduce productivity and make a dent in morale. 

It takes on the shape that one person, or a group of people, frustrates or hampers another person...

Types of Interpersonal Conflict

  • Policy Conflicts: disagreements about how to deal with a situation that affects both parties. 
  • Value Conflicts: they are typically pretty difficult to resolve because they are more ingrained.
  • Ego Conflicts: losing an argument, or being thought of as wrong, can actually damage a person’s self-esteem. This is like a power struggle.

What Causes Interpersonal Conflict

  • Frustration and stress
  • Misunderstandings
  • Lack of planning
  • Bad staff selection
  • Poor Communication