How To Handle Bad Business Relationships

Sometimes, in business, you can't immediately control which business relationships you are a part of. When certain coworkers, clients, or other affiliates are especially challenging to interact with, you need to find a way to laterally lead while still remaining professional and true to your own values. Here are the some of the most important factors to keep in mind to be successful in achieving this:

Actually Listen

When you feel that you are in a bad business relationship, it can be really challenging to stop reacting and start truly listening. It's important to remember that the best relationships are built on solid communication. Even if your business associate seems incapable of understanding your point of view, you can still act as the leader in the situation and seek real understanding of their perspective. Listening for understanding, instead of in a defensive stance, is the first step to improving your stressed relationship. Try taking emotion out of it all together and remember that your motivation is curiosity above all else.

Build Rapport

It's reasonable for you to want, and need, to communicate your perspective with your business affiliate. After you've listened with curiosity to understand their position, it is incredibly important to ensure that the feel heard by you. Let them know that you indeed do hear where they are coming from, and that you are listening in a non-judgmental way. That sets a solid foundation where they can reciprocate listening and curiosity to hear you out as well. The leadership lesson is that you have to lead during the hardest part here. Do you remember that golden rule: do unto others as you would have them do unto you? As a leader that's all you...only you have to do it first.

Don't Assign Motives

It's easy for things to feel personal when you are in a challenged business relationship. But be cautious about assigning motives to other people. While you may think that they have a personal vendetta against you, which could be the case, the odds are more likely that their motivation is pursuing their own work and self comfort. Before pointing a finger or assuming that they are somehow reacting to something about you personally, try to find any other root cause of your disagreements. Maintaining a mindset that things can be improved will empower you to be a continuous problem solver. Assigning motives to someone else, could have the opposite effect and keep you in this, and other strained relationships, longer.

For a more in-depth discussion on this topic, tune into the podcast below.

Want to know more about developing your leadership skills and business strategy? Subscribe to The Leadership Coaching Group podcast on iTunes, or wherever you get your podcasts, and follow us on Instagram @theleadershipcoachinggroup

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