Nothing, including salary, can offset the stress associated with working with people you need to get along with but for whatever reason don’t. It’s normal that you won’t like everyone, but it’s equally normal that not everyone will like you. The only thing you have control over are your choices on how you deal with this dynamic.
How can you improve workplace relationships and reduce the stress generated by them?
What will help you immediately is making a decision on how much you are going to let your mental boundaries and thinking affect your relationships with others and consume your own energy levels. It’s not up to the other person to decide how you feel, that’s up to you! Feelings come from what we think and do. Remember that you can manage your feelings. This sounds difficult in heated, stressful or broken relationships. Depending upon the story around the relationship, it’s possible the dysfunction has gone on a very long time and you’ve been at a loss as to what to do about it. If what you are doing to make it better or to feel better isn’t working you will have to come with a new approach.
To improve the relationship, ask yourself what needs to happen and what you are willing to do to make it happen. This is hard when your feelings are hurt or when you’ve been dragging around resentment for too long. As you consider what you want, strive to be realistic and make sure that the “want” is about you and only you. Challenging isn’t it?
Some of this relationship business takes courage, most of it takes training, and all of it requires work. If you want to get really good at identifying what isn’t working in a relationship, begin to frame what you need to do as practice. Don’t get discouraged if this seems hard, it takes a lot of effort to work out differences, offenses, slights, and broken promises. Practicing in your head helps the process.
What Can I Do Now?
Right now, pick up your pen and write down your thoughts on the relationship that isn’t working. Ensure that you include how you feel. You will also want to think about where you are now and where you want to be with regard to your happiness. These questions will help you get started:
- How much of your happiness are you willing to surrender to focusing on what you can’t do anything about?
- What holds you back to face your opponent and express your willingness to work on working out what isn’t working?
- How important is the relationship to you?
- How do you know the relationship is not working?
- How are your performance and effectiveness impacted?
- What do you think will happen if the issue is never resolved?
- How willing are you to do something about the situation?
- When would you be willing to start doing something positive about the situation?
- Is it possible you can be effective and enjoy your job even if the relationship doesn’t improve?
- If your feelings about the issue have escalated to resentment, how long are you willing to stay resentful?
When you’re ready, ask yourself what you want the next step to be. Write down what you want until you feel you have an acceptable list of actions that are appropriate for you, your values, and your wants. Before taking action, double-check that your goals are attainable and realistic.
Always remember that your happiness is not dependent on others, but it will be influenced and impacted by others. Your happiness is in your hands, and you will sometimes have to adjust your thinking and doing to maintain the level of happiness you are committed to. Take ownership of your happiness. Your happiness is tied to your ability to self-evaluate and self-correct. We need successful relationships; they are the primary source of our happiness.
Want to learn more? Related to the subject of work relationships are these impression management tips. You can download this article for free here. Be sure to also explore our store for programs such as Polish Your Professional Maturity amd Principles of Positive Co-Worker Relationships that will help you improve work relationships.