How to Recover

Posted on March 25, 2012

Mistakes are made in business, pure and simple.  However, when a situation arises between employees and you lose control, saying something that will possibly damage a relationship, how do you recover?

Often in my work as an image consultant, clients discuss relationships that need improving; peer to peer, boss to employee, etc. Often situations are explained to me as if the bridge has been burned.

The first questions I usually ask are; what escalated the conversation to the point that the trigger was pulled?   Was this person always an irritant to you and you finally blew, or was it an unusually stressful situation that caught you off guard?

Stress and personality do drive conflict, but it is how we approach the conflict that will make the difference between remedy and disaster with your professionalism.  We are human.  We think, we feel, we want comfort and when these emotions are challenged, it leads to conflict.  Just remember, when emotion goes up, intelligence goes down.

The next time you find yourself in a situation like this, consider these options to help salvage the relationship;

USE Think-speak-think- Have the mental discipline to think about what you would really like to say in your head and then how to turn that message around with a diplomatic, digestible delivery.  For example, you may really think someone has a ridiculous idea.  Rather than saying precisely what you feel consider an approach like this. “I am not sure I am following your logic but would like you to explain in further detail?”  Then think again about how he or she received that message.  Consider verbal response as well as body language.

Give time-Instead of reacting quickly to something that makes you angry and feeling that you immediately have to “say what you think”, take a break, a time out, or wait a couple days to respond.  When we respond in the moment and that moment is not going so well, we tend to slip into sarcasm or an elevated voice and say things that we later regret.

Apologize-Eureka! This may be a quick answer, but not an easy one for us to do.  Sometimes re-approaching the situation honestly by saying, “I’m sorry; I was not at my best,” or, “May we discuss this again because my goal is really to solve this issue, not to make things worse?”  You would not believe the buy in you will receive when you approach a situation with sincerity and humility rather than ego.

Make the list-Make a list of all the people you do not get along with then ask yourself if there is a common thread and what you can do to shorten this list!  Looking at yourself and the way you approach business relationships can be revealing, if you are honest with yourself.  Once you have a plan in mind, then one-by-one work to improve the relationships and shorten that list. You do not have to like everyone you work with, but you do have to work with them!

There are always technical mistakes and poor decisions in business, but take the angst out of any of these situations by approaching people in the way you yourself wish to be approached.  You will have healthier more productive outcomes.

Tagged as: Peggy's Tips

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