Five Tips To Fix Dysfunctional Work Relationships
Personalities sometimes clash at work. Even if you have the best intentions, you might not get along with everyone on your team. When left unaddressed, the stress you feel during these interactions can erode the positive culture you've worked so hard to build.
Rather than grin and bear it through tense relationships, Peter Daisyme, co-founder of Hostt, recommends following five steps to turn around negative employee dynamics. We highlight his tips in this issue of Promotional Consultant Today.
1. Cultivate compassion. Whatever the nature of your frustrations with your employees, remember that they have lives outside of work, notes Daisyme. That irritable salesperson might have been kept awake all night by medical bills. Behind a single curt comment could be years of familial dysfunction. If a team member snaps at you unexpectedly, realize that the root issue may run much deeper. Even if you can't guess at the cause, you can show compassion by resisting the urge to retort. Ask the employee if there's anything you can do to make his or her day better.
2. Find common ground. Daisyme says that one of the best ways to turn around a rocky relationship is to identify something you have in common. Perhaps it's a hobby or a shared worldview. If future interactions get tense, you can steer the other person back toward a safe topic and recalibrate the conversation.
3. Set (and gently enforce) boundaries. It's important to appropriately communicate your boundaries at work. If an employee asks to join you for lunch and you're not interested, you could simply say, "I'm sorry, but I can't go today." This response is perfectly reasonable and polite. Daisyme says that if your boss or another person in a position of power makes the request, you should make your reason relevant to them. For example, if your boss wants to work late to pursue more leads, note that you may be less fresh for morning calls.
4. Take a break. What if you have to work with the stressful employee directly for an extended period of time? Daisyme recommends that you avoid letting your personal frustrations eat into your performance or demeanor. If you start to lose control, take a break. Removing yourself from the situation, even if it's just for a few minutes, can do wonders for your mental health.
5. Bring it back to work. Daisyme says that if no number of breaks or chats about shared interests seems to make a difference, you and your employees still have a financial incentive to get along. Your team's success depends largely on your ability as a leader to have productive relationships with your employees. When conversations turn stressful, Daisyme recommends subtly steering them back to work. Ask the other person to weigh in on a strategy or share their opinion on an upcoming pitch.
If there's bad blood between you and one of your employees, try the tips above to turn things around. With a little effort and a fresh approach, you might just see that strained relationship improve.
Source: Peter Daisyme is the co-founder of Palo Alto, California-based Hostt, specializing in helping businesses with hosting their website for free, for life.