Repairing a Broken Work Relationship

It’s not always easy or straightforward to repair a broken work relationship—but it can be done. The key is to take responsibility for the role you played in the damage and make the first move toward resolution.

Practice empathy, and try to see the situation from the other person’s perspective. Use this understanding to fix your own behaviour, first.

What can you do to be a better teammate? Apologise for your mistakes or wrongdoing, and strive to improve. You might also choose to have a direct conversation with the other person about the issue, and invite them to join your crusade against a shared problem or pursuit toward a common goal.

Finally, wave a white flag by making symbolic gestures of goodwill, such as verbalising praise or appreciation for the other person, offering to help them without expecting anything in return, or even inviting them to grab a coffee or join you for a social activity. With consistency and patience, burned bridges can be rebuilt.

Don’t stop working on your professional relationship after you’ve repaired the damage. Continue to develop your interpersonal skills and be careful to maintain the trust and goodwill that you’ve worked so hard to restore.

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