When Relationships Go Wrong At Work — Susan Ritchie

Just 3 Things — When Relationships Go Wrong At Work

I’m starting a new series of short blog posts, called ‘3 Things’ — I’ll be giving you three short, sharp bite-sized strategies for managing your leadership challenges that you can take away and put into practice. If you’d like to submit a challenge for me to talk about, email me at hello@susanritchie.co.uk

We spend a great deal of our lives at work, so it’s important that we feel happy and fulfilled while we’re there. The relationships we have with the people we work with will contribute greatly to that overall sense of satisfaction and wellbeing.

But what happens when it goes wrong? What happens when a relationship with someone at work sours to the point that you may have a colleague who really doesn’t buy into you and may be making life difficult?

Here are three ways to approach the situation. Please note, if bullying or workplace harassment is the issue, or you feel that you are not capable of coping, then please seek out appropriate and qualified support.

1.Examine your own role. Ask yourself ‘In what ways am I contributing to the situation?’ There is no judgement intended in this question, rather, a gentle exploration of all the surrounding factors that may be affecting your relationship with your colleague. What may you need to continue, stop or start doing, if anything? Things to think about include your communication, assertiveness, beliefs, behaviours and attitudes. Talking this over with an accountability partner, trusted mentor or neutral person can help you to shed light on the situation.

2.Understand your core values and ensure you’re living them on a daily basis. This ensures you are operating from a place of your best ‘you’ and not being reactive. Sometimes our values get clouded and compromised when we feel challenged. For example, one of mine is courtesy — but ironically, dis-courteous people can prompt anger in me that can cause me to become quite short and discourteous with them! Remind yourself what your values are and act accordingly.

3.Build alliances. Instead of focusing on the relationships that aren’t working for whatever reason, concentrate on strengthening yourself and your position by building alliances within and across your organisation. Sit down and do a spot of network mapping; who do you know, who would be good to get to know and how can you build your relationship with them? Arrange one-to-one meetings and concentrate on building a strong network around you, which will dilute the effect on the not-so-great relationship. Email me at hello@susanritchie.co.uk if you’d like my tips sheet for this.

New to role? You may find this helps too New To Leadership

I’m Susan Ritchie and I help new and emerging leaders to lead with credibility, gravitas and visibility. You can make a start by downloading 5 Steps To Develop Your Leadership Presence.

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Originally published at susanritchie.co.uk on October 22, 2016.

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