When you look at today’s political and cultural chaos–dissension, name-calling, rigid opinions, and more–you might think it has become the new normal and is unavoidable. Unfortunately, that defeatist outlook plays right into the hands of those individuals and groups that profit from it in some way. (If nothing else, they seem to get a sense of power from it.)
If you take a different look at it–from the standpoint of your work environment and your long-range career success–you will realize that accepting such situations as normal and trying to “live with” them is not beneficial. Relationships need and deserve to be managed from a positive but practical position that rejects the status quo as being irretrievable.
This is probably not going to happen, unless you’re working in a Never-Neverland where everyone likes and works well with everyone else. Sooner or later, it’s likely that people will start pushing each others’ buttons and create a challenging work situation.
In such a case, your only option if you want to stay in that job is to work out a solution that helps reduce the tension and move toward a more acceptable outcome.
How much control do you have over the problem? That can be hard to determine, but necessary. If you have some control or can exert some influence over the parties involved, you might be able to devise an effective solution.
People being people, there could be any number of possible approaches. If, for example, one of the people who is triggering the problem or serving as a catalyst to help it along reports to you, you might be able to address it with the individual and implement a corrective action plan.
As I’ve said before, if you don’t have any control or influence that you can bring to bear, you might have to remove yourself from the situation by finding a job elsewhere. However, I’d normally consider that a last-resort option, not to be chosen until you’ve exhausted less drastic possibilities.
Mastery of any skill or knowledge area takes work–study, practice, and more practice. Whether you choose formal education or find a mentor to help you gain the mastery, you need to be fully invested in developing the ability to defuse untenable situations caused by relationship problems. You can’t afford to leave it to chance and just hope you can manage somehow.
If you are bearing the brunt of the relationship problems, relationship mastery becomes even more critical. Most of us aren’t well trained in how to cope with such situations, although the more assertive among us can often manage better because they’re not willing to roll over and be someone’s doormat.
A psychologist might have a field day discussing this subject, but I’m no psychologist! I just know it can be tough to handle things effectively if you can’t tap into resources designed to deal with them, whether that’s through education or some other means. This is especially true if the instigator of the dissension is on some kind of power trip and not inclined to respond well to unassertive measures.
Part of relationship mastery, then, is figuring out what’s at the root of the problem and what, if anything, you can and should do to mitigate the situation. Ideally, your goal is to cut out the conflict or at least reduce it to a manageable level that keeps it from destroying people’s jobs or careers–including yours!
Finding a solution that enables people around you to work together more cooperatively can’t help but benefit everyone involved. Work on sharpening your problem-solving skills, if you haven’t already honed them to perfection!