All teams experience conflict at some stage. But sometimes you might struggle to rebuild harmonious relationships. In this situation, it helps to keep the following points in mind.
Accept your own part in the conflict
Like it or not, you had a part to play in the conflict. Things you did or said upset the other person. This doesn’t make you a bad person. It doesn’t mean you consciously set out to be hurtful. But it does mean your actions and words contributed to the disagreement. Be willing to take responsibility for your part in the situation.
Focus on the benefits of building rapport
It is easier to build a positive relationship if you believe it will bring you benefits. Make a list of what you’ll gain from a healthy relationship. Benefits could include:
- Lowering your stress levels
- Increasing productivity
- Expanding your understanding of your colleague
- Learning new ways to solve problems
- Boosting your image as a professional
For information on how to build rapport, even when you don’t experience it naturally, view Eleanor Shakiba’s video How to Build Rapport and Trust.
Rebuilding a relationship means restoring trust. And that takes time. Take small steps. Show your colleague that you can be trusted. Be willing to trust them. Give them the benefit of the doubt if they occasionally slip back to old habits. Behaviour change can be difficult. You’ll probably make mistakes, too. But if both of you are willing to work on the relationship, the trust will eventually return.
Dwelling on the past can keep you anchored to the conflict. This is because it draws your attention to a problem state – the conflict. It is far more productive to focus on solution building. Try switching your attention to finding new ways to work with the other person. Ask yourself solution focused questions, such as ‘how can we improve our relationship?’ or ‘what are we doing better these days and how can we do more of it?’
Let the other person know you are willing to work on rebuilding the relationship. Thank them for working the issue through with you. Tell them that you are keen to leave the past behind. Acknowledge their attempts to change, or the steps they take to follow up on agreements made during mediation.
Have YOU got a people problem to sort out? Use Eleanor Shakiba’s Situation Analyser to pinpoint what’s going wrong. It takes two minutes to fill in. Then you will receive your free ebook on how to handle your situation. Access the questionnaire here.