The good news is that even some of the most strained relationships can be repaired. In fact, a negative relationship turned positive can be a very strong one. “Going through difficult experiences can be the makings of the strongest, most resilient relationships,” says Susan David, a founder of the Harvard/McLean Institute of Coaching and author of the HBR article, “Emotional Agility.” The bad news is that fixing a relationship takes serious effort.
“Most people just lower their expectations because it’s easier than dealing with the real issues at hand,” says Brian Uzzi, professor of leadership and organizational change at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management and author of the HBR article, “Make Your Enemies Your Allies.” But, he says, the hard work is often worth it, especially in a work environment where productivity and performance are at stake. Here’s how to transform a work relationship that’s turned sour.
Sometimes you get stuck in a rut with someone at work — a boss, a coworker, a direct report. Perhaps there’s bad blood between you or you simply haven’t been getting along. What can you do to turn the relationship around? Is it possible to start anew?