Left unchecked, even a small dispute with a colleague can spiral out of control, leading to anger and resentment. When things get tense, you might be tempted to pull away. But it’s far better to engage and try to reset. Immediately acknowledge the tension, and allow the other person (and yourself) room to air your differences, while expressing positivity about the future. For example, you might say: “I know that we’re not seeing eye to eye on this right now, and it is upsetting for both of us. But I’m optimistic we can work it out.” Then, set a meeting for a few days later, giving you both time to let your emotions cool. Even something as small as a short coffee break can help ease the tension. Lastly, remind your colleague that you care about the relationship and want to have more positive interactions in the future. This may help to keep your current conflict from contaminating the entire relationship.

This tip is adapted from “How to Mend a Work Relationship,” by Brianna Barker Caza, Mara Olekalns, and Timothy J. Vogus

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