How to Repair Damaged Relationships in Business

One of the many skills expected of a great leader is the ability to resolve damaged relationships while doing business. Whether it is with a colleague or a client, it is quite a considerable challenge. Experts had given their advice to a lot of big business names, and they all have shared something in common. Conflicts arise from circumstances that we need conscious effort to eliminate when dealing with our business partners and business clients. Let’s take a closer look at each of them and let’s see how to repair damages brought by it respectively:

1- MISCOMMUNICATION

Effective communication should be enforced at all times when communicating in a professional setting. But sometimes, slips of the tongue, emotional outbursts and unsolicited comments happen which ignite conflict in business. Consider the following to avoid miscommunication:

a) Personal Differences – Since nobody has the same background, upbringing and experience as you, don’t expect that your colleague’s responses would conform to your exact expectation. Before you decide to resolve your conflict, remind yourself to keep respect as the backbone of whatever you’ll discuss. It’s important to stay real but make sure you set emotions out of the equation. Lay your intentions out objectively. Consider what makes your colleague sensitive, hurt and squeamish. If they find confrontation is too threatening, guide them into a safe environment for talking and let them schedule the time which is most convenient for them. Lean towards the truth when stating why you have to speak and seal it with a good outcome that may sound like, “I just don’t want anything to get in our way as teammates.” Or “I hope we can sort things out.”

People’s differences are one of the most important things to consider, but undeniably, it is one of the most neglected and ignored.

b) The timing – Usually, when a conflict has arisen, both parties may come from a heated argument. It’s sometimes better to let things cool off a bit before following it up with a serious chat. Let things settle first. A weekend could do it. Take a break, or go for a walk if you have to face each other within the day.

c) Your responses – Hierarchy is always present in any workplace. If somebody oversteps on this established hierarchy, it often results in conflict. Be reminded that you can control only you and your responses and never anybody else’s. Ask yourself the following when doubtful to help you decide if it should be brought up or not:

“Should I tell her?” = Because if it does not help the situation, don’t.

“Should I be telling her NOW?” = Just like what I said earlier about finding the right timing.

“Should I be THE ONE telling her in the first place…” = Maybe there’s a superior responsible for doing so than you.

2- EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE

Emotional intelligence is a human being’s capacity to control emotions, keep composure intact and relate to a fellow human empathetically.

While education may be required at your workplace where intelligence quotient may be highly regarded, emotional intelligence plays a significant role in sorting out damaged relationships maturely.

You can say those who have a low emotional intelligence quotient may be expected to be dramatic, overly sensitive and uncooperative when it comes to committing to resolutions. They’d rather sulk into pride or suppression.

The key to it is awareness. Awareness that you’re mad, that you’re hurt and that you can’t accept something rude that was addressed to you. Once you become aware of it, you can step back and assess what is going on. Why do you feel untowardly to this person? How did it end up like that? Go to a deeper understanding that maybe your colleague, had just had a baby (still hormonal), perhaps under a great deal of stress (undergoing a divorce) or is in a sensitive time of their life (lost a loved one). You’ll never know so approach it with empathy.

On the other hand, try to determine if you added up to it. Maybe there was something that you need to resolve within yourself. Impatience, displacement of anger or simply because you were hungry that time — all of these may sound silly. But it happens. So acknowledge by all means what you did wrong and take full responsibility for such misbehaviour.

3- LACK OF RESPECT

There are circumstances when there’s unexplainable tension brought about by first impressions. As you project the real you, be aware of the norms at work and conform to them. When you are not aware of what triggers you to lash out negative vibes toward another colleague while he or she is doing nothing to you, take a step back and study why you’re feeling this way. Is it their manner of talking, their awful stance or just the ugly nonchalant face they own? You have to set aside these childish perceptions and focus on how you could move forward as a team. Give them a chance to perform their roles and find in yourself the strength to guide them in honing their skills. You may not like them but at least respect their uniqueness, and later on, after some time, they might end up being an asset to the company after all, with your help.

4- MISTRUST

One of the hardest culprits of a damaged relationship to recover is mistrust. When this happens, the relationship goes back, not only to zero but below zero. It’s like a Jenga game when it gets to a peak, and then it breaks and falls, that’s how it feels. You have to deal with it and rebuild it over again.

The thing is, whoever had misbehaved, should find the way to apologise. And this apology should be louder than the crime committed. Meaning, be the best employee you could be and don’t pull any stunt like that again. You can grow from mistakes, but you can never outgrow patterns and bad habits. The workplace is where professionals are doing what they do best. While there should be a room for mistakes, it should never be assumed tolerating every error there is. Look for a corporate advisor if need be.

Now, knowing these points where conflict may arise, it’s not a guarantee that what will be talked about afterwards will assure you of a clean slate as if nothing happened. But, if you are transparent and honest with your intention to repair whatever got damaged along the way, at least, acknowledging that you are in the same team should pave the way for things to get better.

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