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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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.

  • 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.
  • 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.

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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RELATED IDEAS

Don’t put it off

Don't put off a conversation for some ideal future time, when it can be more easily dealt with.

Take some time to cool down and plan the general outline of the outcome you desire. But then have the conversation, and make a plan to move on. 

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Sometimes our behaviour is tied to invisible environmental triggers we have around us, the habits and routines that we no longer realize. We need to be aware of these triggers that set our behaviour in motion.

Example: A certain morning routine like listening to the news can make us late for our work.

  • As the conversation comes to a close take the time to reflect back on what you've discussed, the next steps to be taken, and if there's anything left each party wants to say to the other.
  • Remember to ask the most important thing before closing the conversation and that is "What has changed for you as a result of this conversation?"
  • Lastly, express gratitude towards the other person regardless of what may.

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