CareerCommunication

Fixing a Work Relationship Gone Sour

It can be a frustrating situation when bad energy seems to have built up between you and a colleague at work, especially when you would like to get along. Amy Gallo provides top-caliber advice for Harvard Business Review about to turn things around. She says that although it can require heavy effort to fix a damaged work relationship, the good news is that a sufficiently repaired relationship can end up becoming one of the strongest kinds. Sour relationships come in two forms: the kind where you are scared to look at the person, and the kind where you do not go beyond saying the occasional “Hey” to each other. Whatever causes this strain, you need to put your ego and your (maybe skewed) sense of right and wrong aside; if necessary, it is even recommended you pretend in your head that the other person has already admitted to being wrong.

You might have the understandable urge to try and make sense of what went wrong, but the longer you dwell on what went wrong, the harder it will become to think about how to make things right again. Thus, treat the past as water under the bridge and only focus on how to make things better in this present moment. If you really want to extend the olive branch, offer to do things to help the other person while asking for nothing in return. This shows a genuine willingness to repair the relationship. Ultimately though, remember that it will be in the little interactions that you really see improvement occur. The best case scenario is that one day you both go to work and think, “Yeah, he/she is pretty cool,” about the other person.

You can view the full article, with case studies, here: https://hbr.org/2014/08/fixing-a-work-relationship-gone-sour/

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