You are currently viewing Keep your relationships intact and don’t burn bridges
Written by Brent Knight, President of ISS

I am not sure if those of you who read this blog also subscribe to our What’s Up Wednesday videos on social media. If you do, you may have watched the recent video covering the topic of burning bridges.

Bridges, i.e., relationships are tricky and can be hard to build. Likewise, they are easy to destroy. In business, I have watched too many people ruin relationships for reasons that really did not warrant it. The challenge is that we all live and work in a safety community that is quite small and tight-knit. It seems that you run into people you know wherever you go and the relationships that you build and more importantly, the relationships that you end, follow you.

We have all worked with or for that person who is vindictive and just nasty. We choose to deal with this type of person in a way that makes sense to us and most of us can find a happy medium and then move on after our interaction ends. This is the best way to deal with someone who behaves in this manner as you never know when you are going to cross paths again. On the contrary, letting someone pay the wrath of your rage and frustration will never have positive results. It might make you feel better in the short term, but what happens when you cross paths with this person again in the future. An important question to ponder!

In my career, I have crossed paths with so many people, and some of them I did not like. I also competed fiercely with folks only to eventually join teams with them and work side by side.

When it comes to relationships, perspective really matters. Emotion can get in the way of this, especially when somebody pushes a button in your ego that takes you to the edge. If there is one piece of advice that I can give you, it is to walk away, think about the situation, measure its importance, and then determine how you are going to respond. Your response is everything.

It is best to try to work through things with the person. If that does not work, I recommend telling them how their behavior makes you feel. If that does not work, then quietly shut them out and wait for the time with them to end, parting ways quietly. This is the best approach and will have the least impact on you in the future. It is also a steppingstone to emotional intelligence and others will see it and respect your self-control and maturity.

These situations are never fun. Since we cannot control how others treat us, we must focus on what we can control, which is how we respond.