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A simple guide to managing difficult relationships at work

Take responsibility

Recognise that managing a relationship is a two way process and that both parties need to accept a role in improving the situation.

Develop self awareness

Explore your own personality traits, define what your priorities are and understand what values are important to you.

Know your colleague

Try to understand the other person's personality, values and priorities.

Recognise the differences

While you may do an excellent job your colleague may see you as obsessive and perfectionist.

Identifying where your personalities, priorities and values differ is crucial to understanding where difficulties arise.

Keep your cool

Be aware of your emotional and physiological responses to stress.

Try to remain professional by taking a calm, collected and logical approach.

Face problems

Suggest a time and place to discuss the issues. Meet in private and avoid times of obvious stress.

Avoid confrontation

Approach the discussion in a collaborative, adult way and aim to reach an outcome that benefits both parties. If dealing with a junior member of staff, agree clear performance improvement measures.

Develop your self confidence and emotional resilience

Believe in yourself and try not to take knocks personally.

Look long term

Behaviour does not change overnight so be patient.

If all else fails

If the situation does not improve, consider moving job or company - but learn actively from the experience.

If dealing with a subordinate, issue the appropriate verbal and then written warnings, in accordance with current employment law. If this fails, bite the bullet and dismiss the individual.

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