Working in a professional services firm can be pretty stressful. (But, you knew that already!) Plus you can’t always choose the clients or people you work with on an assignment. This means that relationships can often get frayed around the edges. Or perhaps you’ve inadvertently managed to annoy a big client or an influential partner? It’s the power of your relationships which often determine your progression onwards and upwards through a firm.

Here are 8 tips to help you repair a broken relationship.

1. Keep the lines of communication open

You can sort out most relationships if the lines of communication are still open. Therefore, always aim to keep a dialogue going. As soon as these lines close, it can become much, much harder to mend the relationship.

2. Reframe the situation

It is often said that the are three versions of every situation, what each side thinks and then the truth. Ultimately broken relationships often start because of differences in style, mis-communication or a difference in values. Can you revisit the cause of the broken relationship and maybe reframe it?

3. Have a quiet conversation

As I mentioned above often broken relationships in the work place comes about because of a difference in working styles and preferences. For example, my husband can infuriate me by his need for detail, thinking time and structure. Whereas, I annoy him by spur of the moment decisions to do things based on a whim. You may find that a quiet conversation to clear the air may be all that is needed to repair the relationship.

4. Take 51% responsibility

Whilst it may be although other person’s fault, and they are just hell to work with. It normally takes two to tango when relationships go sour at work. Take a moment to consider that if you had some responsibility for the situation and relationship between you, what did you do to contribute to your broken relationship.

5. Decide on how much you need to repair the relationship

Whilst it is not good practice to leave a trail of broken relationships after you, sometimes it is worth weighing up whether it is worth the energy to repair the relationship. If it isn’t then, take a deep breathe and move on.

6. Never let the sun go down on an argument

Sometimes, but not always, this is good advice. Very often leaving the open wound in your relationship to fester can make it worse. However, if emotion is present, it can be worth letting this settle down before trying to patch up your differences.

7. Let everyone calm down

Very often in the heat of the moment, things get said which are later regretted. With some people (me!), often the best thing to do is to sleep on it. Everything can seem a lot clearer and less emotive in the morning – and therefore, a better environment to repair a relationship.

8. Have a conversation with your coach, buddy or mentor

Learning to repair relationships is just one of the skills lawyers, accountants and consultants need. Therefore, use your coach, mentor or work buddy to give you advice to mend the relationship.

Author Credit:

HowtoMakePartner book jacketWritten by Heather Townsend. I help professionals become the ‘Go To Expert’. I am the co-author of ‘How to make partner and still have a life‘ and “The Go-To-Expert” (publish date March 2014) and the author of the award-winning and bestselling book on Networking, ‘The FT Guide To Business Networking‘.

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