How To Kill A Work Relationship

Photo by Chetan Kolte on Unsplash

We spend a lot of time with our co-workers, our bosses, our colleagues and more. Work relationships are a large part of our adult life.

We’ve all probably worked with people that we love. And we have probably worked with a few folks that we didn’t get along with.

And sometimes we may have experienced a situation where someone started avoiding us. That one can throw you off sometimes. It can be hurtful and frustrating. It can feel like you’re missing out on something valuable.

How do you avoid killing worthwhile work relationships?

Here are a few thoughts…

1. Dealbreakers

Everyone has dealbreakers. We usually talk about them in the context of personal relationships. We have them with our partners. When we’re dating we’re usually well aware of our dealbreakers. It may take a relationship or two (or more) to really learn what is not going to work for us.

Everyone has slightly different dealbreakers. It could be timeliness, reliability, the type of words you use in regular conversation and lots more. We usually have a couple of things that are really important to us.

Early on in a work relationship we may let a few things slide, but as time goes on we often realize whether a coworker is someone we want to spend time with or not. And if there is a choice, we probably look to avoid those that we don’t want to mix with.

2. The Energy Balance

There are different balances in most relationships. The relationships that work the best usually find the correct balance. What one person needs, the other provides. And vice versa. If one side is taking more than the other is comfortable with in regards to a certain aspect, things can get off balance. And from there things can quickly or slowly start to erode.

Energy seems to be key in work relationships. One person requires time and energy. Another is willing to give. But if the balance is abused it can lead to a total loss.

Let’s say for example that you and a coworker are working on a project. You kind of fall into a rhythm of how the work is balanced. It seems to be going well, but soon the other person is requesting a reassignment. They may have thought the balance was off and not at all in their favor.

Communication is key to finding the right balance. Even if you feel that things are going well.

3. Controlling Tendencies

Whatever the cause, some of us have controlling tendencies. Without even realizing it we may exert control over a situation and that could include work and our coworkers. If some relationships at work have been suffering consider looking into how you control situations. Do you micromanage others? Do you try to exert your will over the direction of certain projects?

Look at how you’ve worked with others. If you make them feel overly controlled in certain ways it could be the cause for issue.

Final Thoughts

It’s not fun to lose important relationships at work. And sometimes it’s out of our control. But if you feel that you might be turning others away, look at the reasons listed here. You don’t often need to entirely change as a person or a coworker. But you can work on a few things to bring more to those you work with and thus attract more healthy relationships.

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