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Rebuilding burned bridges


At some point in your career, you will commit a faux pas and cause someone to be upset with you. The way you handle the offence will determine if you mend a bridge or burn it to ash. The rule of thumb in business is to never burn a bridge because you never know when you will need to cross back over it.{{more}}

  • People change positions and companies frequently. Even if you are fired from a position, hold on to any remote possibilities of maintaining a few relationships with former colleagues.
  • Apologize. A simple, sincere “I am sorry” (be specific about why you are apologizing) is sometimes enough to get things moving in the right direction. It also means you will not repeat that offense.
  • Be sincere. Apologize to the person that you offended, but be sure you mean it. The offended person probably will be even more annoyed by insincerity on your part.
  • Take responsibility. When you say, “I am sorry” take full responsibility. Don’t say “I am sorry, but…” The “but” cancels out the apology. Don’t pass the buck or blame someone else.
  • Be proactive to mend fences. Look at ways to remedy situations. Can you make a call, send an e-mail, or organize a face-to-face visit to smooth the conflict?
  • Move on. If you’ve done everything in your power to repair a relationship and you can do nothing else, move on. Leave it alone and be more aware of pitfalls in the future.
  • Be polite. If the person you offended still holds a grudge, you must work with him or her. Don’t be rude or sarcastic even if the other person also may be at fault. Be the bigger person and maintain your professionalism and courtesy.
  • Be open. It takes time for someone to get over an offense. An offended person may return months or even years later a little wiser and ready to rectify the situation. Be mature and prepared to start fresh.

Karen Hinds President/CEO –
Workplace Success Group,
Toll Free: 1-877-902-2775;
Tel: 1-203-757-4103
Creator of The Workplace Success Program (TM)