Have you ever butted heads with someone so badly at work that it made you kind of crazy? Every time you meet with them it seems you’re coming at the issues from opposite points of view. The conversation circles around, going nowhere until you’re ready to give up in frustration. Awful, right?

The truth is, this kind of situation can cause major issues in your career. Even if you’re not the problem, your work can suffer, until you both look bad.

Going to the boss about the other person can backfire, if the boss starts to think that you’re the difficult one. After all, you’re the one complaining.

So there you are, stressing out every time you even see that person. You play out scenarios and argue with them in your head. You brace yourself for a fight, and feel helpless about the whole situation.

It can be pretty miserable, and it takes your time and attention off the ball.

The name of the game when you’re in conflict with someone at work is being able to CONFIDENTLY shift the relationship to one that’s more productive. Today we’re going to look at exactly what it takes. There are 3 key components to solving this problem:

  1. Solid Executive Presence
  2. NINJA -level communication skills and
  3. A relentless focus on working in partnership.

Let’s go through each one of those elements.

First – the solid executive presence. With it, you can show up as unflappable even in the face of the most belligerent of colleagues. Building this kind of elegance starts on the inside. Being mindful of your own thought processes, and patterns, so that you can create some distance from your reactions. Identifying the core beliefs that tend to drive your behavior, and shifting any that don’t help the situation. These are skills you can develop and deepen over time.

Second – NINJA-level communications skills. This has two parts. The first is having a framework for understanding exactly what’s happening in the communication pattern with the other person and in the group. When you can see what’s really going on, you can make intelligent choices about what to say or do next. Then, based on those choices, the next part is having the skill to deliver your messages deliberately, with the tone and energy that will get your meaning across and begin to shift the pattern.

Finally – a relentless focus on working in partnership. This is about building the working relationships you need in order to weather these situations. When you have a solid executive presence and communications skills, it’s easier to work in partnership with others. But sometimes there are dynamics at play that pull the other person out of partnership. When you really understand how partnerships work, you can see those patterns and do something about them. With any luck, that will be enough to shift the situation. And if it’s not, you’ll be able to draw on OTHER relationships – other partnerships — that you have built over time to find ways around the situation.

To be clear, working in partnership means whatever you do – whether it’s trying to resolve the situation directly, or finding away around it – you’re working from a place of integrity. You’re not going behind someone’s back or throwing them under the bus, but finding creative ways to move the work forward.

When you approach a relationship with a difficult colleague with the right mindset and the right skills, you can win over – or find ways to work around – even the most belligerent co-worker. And when you can do THAT, you become someone everyone wants on their team.

If you find yourself in a situation like the one I’ve described here and you’d like some help to get out of it, let’s talk. We’ll get on the phone for about 45 minutes, and during that time we’ll explore your current situation, what you want it to be, and how to get there. If I can help you along the way, we can talk about what that would look like. And if I’m not the right fit for what you need, I’ll point you to other resources. Either way, my goal is for you to get tremendous value from the conversation. So book your call today, and let’s get your career moving forward.

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