Workplace relationships don't always work perfectly. Here, Ronan Campbell from Apollo Training shares a guide to fixing those team tensions.

It’s great when we get on with the people we work. It makes the job that bit easier. Unfortunately we can work with people that we don’t always see eye to eye. This happens, as unlike our friends we don’t choose who we work with.

However what happens when a relationship is a cause of tension and interferes with work?

Should you accept it and remain professional (Maybe you will get lucky and they will leave) or you could try improve the relationship, therefore making our life easier.


If you decide to improve the relationship these four steps may help.

Step One – Try walking in their shoes

In order to fix a relationship, it helps if we can see best in people. At present you may have negative feelings towards them. By changing how you view this person, it will be easier to work with them.

Ask yourself what positive attributes does this person have?

If you struggle to get an answer, place yourself self in their shoes. This allows us to gain a new perspective.  


Step Two – Improve your communication

When you like someone your body language is relaxed, you smile more and your tone is warmer. However when you don’t like someone your body language is closed (crossed arm), your tone can be harsh and our face will give away your true feelings.

Every time you talk to this person be aware of your actions. Use open body language, try a friendlier tone, use their name and smile.  They will pick up on this, possibly respond in a similar way and tensions may ease, without ever having to say a word (Result).

Step Three – The Law of Reciprocity

The law of reciprocity is basically when we do something for people they tend to return the favour.

It can be as simple asking them if they would like a tea when you are getting one. If they are struggling with a task, ask would they like a hand. If they need to swap a lunch break or a shift say yes instead of no. You may find that they start returning the favours and the relationship naturally improves.


Step Four – Look forward on neutral ground

If the above three steps have not helped, it’s time for a talk about it.  Be prepared to be flexible and go into with good intentions.

If possible (and both comfortable) leave the office. Go to a neutral venue like a coffee shop or café and grab a coffee.

Keep it simple but:

  • Focus on a way forward.
  • Listen.
  • Offer solutions on how you can work together


These are basic steps that will help strained relationships. I hope they help. If you would like to discuss todays topic, training or any other work related issue you can contact me through Apollo Training Facebook or email


Talk soon