Repairing a Workplace Relationship
You’ve had an argument with a coworker and feel the need to repair a rough patch in your relationship. How do you proceed? 1) Start with giving yourself a pat on your back. Someone needs to make the first move, so let it be you. When you’re ruminating about the conflict, it can be challenging to focus on work, leading to a reduction in productivity and efficiency. Start with a statement such as “I want to talk with you about the other day.” Next, take responsibility—for your part in the argument. Apologize for words, actions, tonality, or nonverbal behaviors that caused discomfort. Say you want to move forward, and listen completely to your coworker’s perspective. This active listening may help you grasp their point of view, but more importantly, it may encourage your coworker to reciprocate. Focus the discussion on the things you both care about and are trying to achieve. Consider agreeing on how to handle conflict in the future—your relationship “protocols” for managing conflict. Here’s a key thing about coworker conflict: It might feel difficult to make the first move toward repair, but conflict left unresolved can create a toxic work environment, where tensions are high and communication becomes even more strained. Hint: Don’t let positive relationships at work “just happen.” Instead, consciously build on them and nurture trust, and you will observe that they are more resilient under stress.
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