Warren Buffett said; “it takes 20 years to build a reputation, and 5 minutes to ruin it”
Over the course of my career, I have placed over 1000 people into roles and have made more career changing moments in people’s lives. I have run a temporary recruitment desk, managed major accounts, built a team and a new business division and am now currently managing a workforce of over 750 people.
I have experienced all the highs our industry has to offer and of course the lows. It has been an incredible journey and one I have thoroughly enjoyed.
Over the years, there is one piece of advice that has resonated with me and has been a part of many conversations I have had with my teams and I am sure there will be many people reading this who remember!
That is… don’t burn your bridges because the grass is not always greener ( a wonderful mixture of metaphors).
I cannot stress enough how important it is to have your head held high and try to see the positive in the situations life throws at you. No matter how frustrated you are or how dismal the situation may seem at the time, take a breath, think about what you are going to say before saying it, ask for some time out if you need to, and think “is it really relevant I say this, is it going to achieve anything, how will I feel after saying what I want to say?”
Some ways to handle tough conversations:
- Bring a support person with you – while they may not be able to speak on your behalf, sometimes it’s a good idea to have an objective view on the conversation
- Ask for some time out – excuse yourself and go for a walk before speaking. There is nothing wrong with taking a breather.
- Talk about how YOU feel, not what the other person has done. If you talk about how their actions made you feel, it changes the tone of the conversation to be about you, rather than them feeling blamed (whether justified or not).
- Try to see past the issue in search of the solution – you may not always get along with the other person, but you have to work with each other.
- Have a mediator – similar to a support person, a mediator is a good idea as they will be able to control the meeting and suggest ways to move past the issue.
Finally, do not burn your bridges! If you want to leave an organisation, do it in a positive way. Remember what you have learned and how far it has developed your career. Be thankful to your manager and explain the reasons you are leaving. If you have negative feedback, provide it in a constructive way. Do not ever ‘throw the toys’ out of the cot so to speak, because as previously stated, the grass is not always greener and you may find yourself wanting to return.