October 31, 2023

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How to Repair a Bad Employee and Boss Relationship: A Path to Harmony

Navigating the intricate dynamics of the workplace is no easy task. Among the challenges faced, a strained relationship between an employee and their boss stands out as one of the most distressing. It's a situation many dread but one that is unfortunately quite common. From clashing personalities and working styles to differing worldviews or cultural nuances, there are myriad reasons such conflicts arise. The pivotal point, however, is not the origin of the dispute but the path to its resolution.

Understanding the Root of the Conflict

Firstly, it's essential to pinpoint the reason for the discord. Is it a fundamental personality clash, or is it rooted in different working styles or pace? Alternatively, could it stem from differing world views or cultural understandings? Recognizing the core issue is the first step towards conflict resolution.

Moving Beyond the Past

One significant barrier to mending a strained relationship is the baggage of past grievances. Holding onto these can cloud judgment and hinder open communication. It's crucial to avoid demonizing the other party and let go of past misunderstandings to focus on building a better working relationship.

Apologizing – A Two-Way Street

Apologizing – A Two-Way Street

A sincere apology goes a long way. If you're the employee, apologizing for the distress your boss feels, even if you believe you're more wronged, can pave the way for reconciliation. Demonstrating that you care about their feelings often prompts a reciprocal response. If you're the boss, remember: showing empathy is a cornerstone of effective leadership. As a boss, it goes a long way when your offer an apology. It carries a lot of significance and can immediately change the relationship dynamics. Remember you can apologize for the hurt feelings and not necessarily for their behaviour or the consequences of a choice the employee made.

Highlight Strengths, Minimize Weaknesses

Rather than dwelling on areas of contention, both parties should focus on each other's strengths. When tasks need collaboration, it's more productive to harness these strengths rather than getting bogged down by personality differences.

Setting Boundaries

It's imperative to maintain professionalism. Harassment, bullying, or any form of abuse is not only against the law but also detrimental to a healthy working environment. If you're a leader, remember that discrimination or exclusion can irreparably damage your working relationship and the company's morale.

Remembering the Human Element

Remembering the Human Element

Every individual brings a unique perspective to the table. Misunderstandings can arise when these perspectives clash, but it's essential to treat each other with respect and kindness. Just because someone may not understand your viewpoint doesn't give you the right to treat them poorly.

At the heart of any successful working relationship is mutual respect. Whether you're the employee or the boss, fostering open communication, understanding, and empathy can significantly help in conflict resolution. By focusing on the strengths of the relationship and striving to understand and care for each other, both parties can move past their differences and work harmoniously. Remember, a harmonious workplace is a productive one, where employees well.

To Your Wellness,

About the author

Joyce Odidison is a Conflict Analyst, Corporate Trainer, Keynote Speaker, Author, and Master Leadership and Well-being Coach. Joyce is the Thought Leader behind the groundbreaking Well-being Intelligence Curriculum™ and WIS® Assessment that identifies well-being risks for individuals and organizations. Her work includes harassment and psychological safety consultation, designing inclusive wellness systems, wellness assessments, diversity conflict and well-being consultations, train the trainer certifications, and relational leadership coaching. Joyce also hosts the annual Global Workplace Wellness Summit and her weekly What’s Happening at Work podcast. She is the author of six books and President of Interpersonal Wellness Services Inc. Joyce is passionate about helping people identify and reduce barriers to living their best lives. In her downtime, you will find Joyce reading, cooking, taking long walks or enjoying time with family and friends. She can be reached at www.interpersonalwellness.com

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