Sometimes, working with colleagues, we encounter a few bumps in our working relationships. Maybe someone said something that offended us. Maybe we weren’t sensitive enough to a situation one of our teammates was dealing with.

Work relationships are complicated.

We often spend as much or more time with our work colleagues as we do with our partners and other family members. So, it’s critical to our satisfaction with our work that we learn ways of handling conflict. We must navigate the occasional bumps in the road with our teammates and learn to manage complicated working relationships.

In this Harvard Business Review article, How to Mend a Work Relationship, the authors offer valuable practices for building and maintaining relationships with colleagues at work.

  • Reset the emotional tone. Find some shared positive history with your colleague that you can share to offset the negative emotions you may be feeling in the moment.
  • Craft a shared narrative. Share personal explanations or stories about your views of the source of the conflict. Use the stories to understand the reason for the shared misunderstanding. Build a foundation on which to rebuild the relationship.
  • Build relational agility. Instead of “digging in” on your own interpretation of the conflict, be open to finding new ways to relate to one another or solve the conflict.


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