Choose the relationship at work that needs the most work. Instead of giving up on it, or blaming the other (or both), take 5 minutes to think—and maybe talk to someone you trust—about what you can do to improve the relationship—for both your sakes, and for the sake of the work.
BTW, our book, Land On Your Feet, Not On Your Face, available through Amazon, contains an appendix with a “relationship evaluator” that can help you assess what’s working and what’s not working in any work relationship.
But regardless of whether you want to go to that level of detail, at least take the following 5 steps:
- Ask yourself what isn’t working in the relationship, and why. Keep asking that “why” question until you come up with an answer that doesn’t just blame the other person (or yourself, for that matter).
- Ask yourself what you’d like the relationship to look like, ideally. Envision it. Imagine conversations with this person that actually are satisfying for both parties.
- Tell this person simply that you’d like your relationship to improve, and ask if they’d be willing to schedule a conversation about it—without blame or judgment. Maybe after work for coffee or a drink.
- If they say yes, spend a few minutes planning what you’ll want to say—not to make you right, but to express your vision for what the relationship could be, and the steps that might get you there.
- In that conversation, listen. Listen. Listen. Speak your truth, too, of course, and listen. Chances are that what they do that bothers you is not malicious. It’s their way of coping somehow. Try to see the world through their eyes. If you’re both not willing to do that, this conversation probably isn’t worth having.