At a professional services firm, an employee and her manager clashed over a negative review. The employee expected either a salary hike, promotion or both, but was told her work needed improvement. The result: A loud argument. The next day, in a calmer state of mind, the manager proposed they collaborate on a time-based plan of improvement and that the employee contribute ideas. Buying in to the plan, she worked harder and eventually landed her promotion.
Jobs often bring together people of contrasting personalities and priorities. The result can be strained professional relationships, which are difficult to tolerate when antagonists must spend eight hours five days a week in the same office.
Mending workplace relationships takes effort, patience and willingness to admit fault. Try these approaches to foster rapport.
1. Understand the other person's side. Wait until emotions have cooled, and ask the other person to sit down for a conversation. Get his or her side of the conflict. Listen without talking. Then, without voicing your side of the argument, repeat what you heard. This gives the other a sense you value his or her opinion, and have understood what was said.
2. Don't focus on the past. Don't focus on what has been said or done in the past, but how the relationship can get better moving forward. Emphasize possible solutions rather than past issues.
3. Give without asking for reciprocity. Offer the other person something he or she seeks, without making the offer a quid pro quo. Keep your promise in providing that concession, helping foster trust. He or she is likely to reciprocate.
Everyone benefits when workplaces are productive and harmonious. Making the effort to repair a relationship can benefit everyone involved.
How do you deal with workplace disagreements?