This is the second blog based on questions received after a day of leading Navigating Emotional Realities with Adults workshops. There have been many interesting questions submitted by participants.

How do you repair relationships with staff without being their friend?

People shaking handsRepairing relationships following a rupture has to be done in the context of that relationship. Relationships between friends will require one kind of repair approach; relationships with coworkers, employees, or supervisors will likely be different.

First, you don’t have to be “friends” with people to work with them in a healthy relational manner. That being said, all repair is going to involve some measure of conversation once the emotions are not quite as elevated. In repair, both parties will need to honestly take responsibility for their own part in any conflict. Sincere apology is quite disarming, and if it becomes a part of working toward relationship repair, people are likely to be less defensive. Good repair can also involve some form of, “What can we do to avoid this kind of conflict in the future?” This will be different based on whether it is a supervisor/employee conversation or a coworker conversation, but committing to a plan to do better next time can be helpful.

I would like to talk more about the victim mentality. I never thought of myself as a victim, but I am realizing I actually do place myself in the victim role in the stories I am telling myself. I also have been placing the “negative people” in our company into the villain place, which ultimately puts me and others into the victim space. I do not want to perceive myself or others as victims and villains, so how can I (we) start either reframing what I’m thinking or empowering myself to just accept things so that the positive intent can keep moving forward? Also, how can I help anyone who is seemingly negative? Do I just keep striving to be positive myself and stop trying to help others?

This is really good stuff! Your question sort of answers itself in that not having a “victim” mentality really starts with self-awareness. We are all inclined to look for bad guys in our conflicts with others, and we rarely see ourselves as the bad guy, which almost by definition makes us the victim, as you so well point out! A couple of thoughts:

  • There is a big difference between being a victim and having a victim mentality. Being a victim can reflect reality, but having a victim mentality ends up stealing our power to choose resolution, joy, change, etc. Reframing and recognizing our own victim mindset is the first step to moving forward.
  • Once we choose not to function from a victim mindset, it often becomes easier to work with others because their nonsense becomes their responsibility—we don’t have to prove anything or be set free or whatever. We did that ourselves. (To be clear, this does not mean that we don’t occasionally bring our own nonsense into other people’s lives!)
  • Yes, strive to be positive. Work with others on a case-by-case basis. You know the people you work with and who might be open to conversation and who might be less likely. But your positivity can lead others to embrace positivity.
  • Finally, not having a victim mindset does not mean that one should allow themself to be a victim over and over. Situations that are not being fixed or where a person is being targeted or (school term) bullied should be addressed through whatever system an organization has in place.

The workshop, Navigating Emotional Realities with Adults, will be offered live online on November 29 with Jim Ott. Participants will: learn how to identify and explain the neuroscience of emotional development, learn about tools that help create a safer work environment, understand the story they carry within themselves, recognize how adult development impacts the workplace, and learn strategies to motivate behaviors needed in the workplace. Register today.