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Management: For Millennials Who Manage- Executive Leadership Articles

Management: For Millennials Who Manage

Executive Leadership Articles

Management: For Millennials Who Manage

As we’ve stated many times, good networking means good relationships, but a good relationship often moves quickly from professional to personal, effectively doubling its strength while also doubling the likelihood that something can go wrong. Unless your professional network is made up of non-feeling non-humans, interpersonal friction and disagreement can pop up at any time, and sometimes through no fault of yours, relationships become strained, and connections are sometimes broken. Finding yourself on the outs of your network is a difficult experience, but it doesn’t have to mean the end of your network.

When people disconnect themselves from your professional network, they often take huge portions of the network with them, depending on how central they are to their own networks, and how interconnected yours is with theirs. The more actively you nurtured personal relationships with your common connections, the less damage one or two personal dissociations are likely to do. Yet whether the disruption in your network is large or small, if you value connections with those who’ve disconnected, feelings of alienation can be difficult. You’ll notice more interactions or in-person events that don’t include you, and group selfies that you would once have been included in will come down your social media stream without you in them.

If you have maintained strong relationships with your network, damage like this won’t hurt it very much. If people are inclined to take sides, you simply cannot do anything about the ones who don’t take yours, so they are not worth stressing about, however terrible you may feel about this rough time in your friendships. Most good friends won’t take sides, however, and that part of your network will remain strong, even if certain central figures do not. It’s important to keep to the high road in all interactions; resist invitations to speak negatively about anyone, and if compelled to talk about whatever the tension is, be generous in your comments about others. You can acknowledge your own hurt while expressing confidence that things can be worked out, but don’t aim any negativity anywhere but at yourself. Sticking to the high road earns you benefit of the doubt, in the future if not in the present.

If strained relationships do one good thing, it’s that they reveal to you how good you’ve been with nurturing healthy connections. If you find yourself in a ghost town of a network, it’s probably a sign you weren’t taking care of your sphere. Resolve to strengthen connections that remain, and be proactive in rebuilding your torn web. You have something to offer others, and others are in need of what you have. Get out there and make yourself available. When your broken connections are one day repaired, you’ll be doubly blessed.

Remember that time heals. Whatever the issue is, it will often appear meaningless with the passage of time. Make it known that you’re willing to patch up any differences, but don’t be in a hurry to rush the healing. Some wounds take time, and relationships can go through illness the way your physical body can. Eventually, an incidental meet-up might spark a cautious but friendly conversation, or the initiator of the broken contact will decide that bygones should be bygones. Let the healing happen organically if you can; time and perspective can work wonders.

As always, the two strongest phrases in your toolbox are “thank you” and “I’m sorry.” Use them liberally wherever you can, and you’ll find that when combined with the recuperative power of time, if your professional connections were ever founded on mutual, sincere desires to be of value to others, you cannot help but bring things back to at least tepid relations. Some mutual acquaintance will ask for help, and you’ll both respond, and in helping your common friend, you’ll at least put aside differences long enough to accomplish your similar purposes. It’s a start. Hang in there.


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