Jo White

By Jo White

Building and maintaining strong relationships is fundamental to long term success at work. But we all know that things don’t always go according to plan. Proactively dealing with the aftermath of difficult situations, rather than writing them off as a bad experience, will make you stronger and more resilient.

Not in the plan

We’ve all found ourselves in challenging situations at work. It could have been:

  • A unhappy stakeholder who wanted everything yesterday
  • A colleague with a very different view on the direction your work should take
  • Someone in the team that wanted to lead the charge and went off like a bull in a china shop. Cue carnage and destruction.

As part of our People Skills programme we train teams in how to take ownership of difficult situations. How to find win-win outcomes and to resolve conflicts. But what do you do if once the moment has passed it wasn’t all gravy? What if there is something there that still smarts a bit? What if you’ve been left feeling emotionally bruised?

Brushing those feelings aside, or leaving them to fester, is a one way ticket to burden-ville. Carrying around too many of those bad boys can start to weigh you down pretty quickly. You can guarantee, whatever it is that is still sitting with you will:

  • Impact on your future relationship with the perceived perpetrator
  • Make you wary of the next person who acts the same way.
What if you’ve been left feeling emotionally bruised?

Reframing

Reframing is a psychological technique that can be used to gain a different perspective on a situation, thought or feeling. It enables you to challenge negative perceptions and redefine outcomes.

Avoiding burden-ville

At Team Sterka we recommend using proven techniques that will help you empathise and reframe so you don’t carry burdens and impact future relationships.

A discussion on these techniques led to some interesting points being raised by one group in my last training session.

  • What if reframing a situation/relationship might be detrimental?
  • Does always looking for a positive, or something to be grateful for, mean you are undermining, or in some way excusing, the negative behaviour you have been subjected too?

I’ve been thinking about it a lot and keep coming to the same conclusion…

Reframing is not a denial that the challenge that has been dealt is a difficult one. It’s purpose is not to belittle or excuse. If you’ve struggled with a situation and there is still a nagging feeling when you think about it, you need to find a way to process that.

If, on review, you choose to write the whole thing off as a bad experience, to take and accept only negatives, then you put yourself in a position where you can be predisposed to pessimism and that has been proven to be limiting.

If you can cultivate and encourage optimism, through empathising and reframing, you will be stronger and more resilient as a result.

Whatever it is you choose to do (and I will always advocate optimism) it’s ultimately about getting yourself to the point where you can, in the words of Disney’s favourite ice queen… Let. It. Go.

Photos by Jason Goodman and Elisa Ventur on Unsplash

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