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How to fix negative workplace relationships
It may sometimes be difficult as it is spending eight or more hours with the same people at work every day, let alone if you’re dealing with negative relationships amongst your colleagues or team.
While it’s unrealistic to think you’re going to get on like a house on fire with every colleague, struggling with poor workplace relationships can have a detrimental impact on your own satisfaction at work, as well as others’.
The good news is there are some practical steps to turn negative working relationships into positive ones.
Get to the root cause
There are a number of reasons why you and a colleague might not get along. Whether it’s you rubbing them the wrong way or vice versa, look for possible causes that could be leading to a discordant professional relationship, such as:
· Not communicating effectively with each other – including withholding information or over-communicating
· Mismatched working styles
· An unfair delegation of responsibilities
· Being ‘too close’ with one another
Once you’ve identified the main drivers of negativity between you and your colleague, you can start looking at ways to improve communication and/or implement processes for a more harmonious working relationship.
Encourage active listening
It’s easy to get caught up in our own lives and responsibilities that we often don’t take the time to listen to other people’s needs and requests. Make sure you value your peers’ opinions, and if it’s you who feels as though your voice isn’t being heard, don’t be afraid to express your point of view at appropriate times. If you’re finding it difficult to get a word in edgeways with a colleague, set up a formal time at a meeting or another opportunity where you have a chance to drive the conversation.
Channel your emotional intelligence
Emotional intelligence is the ability to manage and understand your emotions, and it’s a crucial skill to have at work, as well as in life. Emotions are all too often left at the door when you enter a professional environment, and this can have negative effects not only on businesses but also employees.
While at work, focus on being self-aware and understanding how you’re feeling in different situations. You might be surprised by how certain situations trigger reactions in you, such as short temperedness, that are creating negative impacts on your working relationships. By identifying these triggers in advance, you can work towards managing them more effectively.
On the flipside, emotional intelligence is about having empathy. Make sure to consider other people’s feelings, especially when making decisions and having face-to-face conversations. Remember most people have ‘off days’ and sometimes giving a colleague space is the best way to turn around negativity.
Accept not all working relationships are perfect
Unlike friendships, most of the time you don’t get to choose your professional relationships. Inevitably, you’re going to work with people over the course of your career who you just don’t mesh with. Whether it’s a personality clash, different working styles, or something else that’s negatively impacting your relationship with a colleague, sometimes incompatibility is unavoidable.
Regardless, being respectful, emotionally intelligent, and listening to others is a good foundation for building and maintaining positive workplace relationships.