In any team it is common to discover there are two or more people who just plain don’t like each other. When you dig into a bit, you will often hear about the terrible things one person did to the other. The deed, whatever it may have been, has created hurt, anger, and resentment. These feelings are the source of some bad behaviors, and the problem just seems to go on forever and ever.
Let’s say that one of those people is you. What might you do to get past the unfortunate thing that happened between you and your co-worker. If you were the one who committed the offense, you have two options.
You could try to convince the other person that it was nothing but a misunderstanding and that you did not intend to hurt the other person. If this is true and you have a way of proving that to the other person, this might work. Probably it will not. The person feels hurt. He sees your action as causing it and nothing you can say will change his mind. Pursuing this option could make things worse because the other person will interpret your behavior as minimizing his feelings.
How about this path instead? Say you are sorry. It’s amazing what an apology can do to mend relationships. You may not think it was all your fault. You may truly believe it was a misunderstanding. So what! The person is still hurt. Your team is being affected by the ill-will between the two of you. If nothing else, it is not that hard to feel sorry about that.
If you are on the side of being offended, you can wait for an apology which may never come or you can get over it. Are you hurt? Yep. Did the other person act like a jerk? For sure. Still you have two paths to choose between, and you really do have a choice. Path one keeps you mad and continues to bog down the team. Path two begins with forgiveness. You get over it and do you best to rebuild the relationship. This is an extremely powerful act in that it dissolves the dispute and sets an example for others to follow. Is it easy? No. But it’s probably easier than trying to get the other person to do what you want. After all, you are in total control of your own thoughts and emotions.
Image credit: widerbergs