It’s not always smooth sailing at work. Sometimes, you may feel hurt, annoyed or angry over something a colleague or boss did or said. If you hold onto these feelings for weeks or months, it becomes a grudge. Holding a grudge at work can squelch productivity and poison the atmosphere.

While it takes intention to move past a grudge — especially a long-held one — you can overcome it. In this issue of PromoPro Daily, we share some tips from Kimberly J. Shaw, a senior corporate employee relations advisor with Insperity, on how you can resolve workplace grudges.

1. Give people the benefit of the doubt. Assume they have good intentions, Shaw says. Most people don’t intentionally set out to perform poorly or annoy their colleagues. She recommends approaching the conflict with the mindset there’s a problem that needs addressing.

2. Encourage difficult discussions. When there’s conflict among team members, Shaw says one of them is usually more bothered by the issue than the other. As a leader, you can encourage the employee to start an open and honest conversation about what’s troubling them. The upset staffer could say something like, “I’m not totally sure I know how to go about this, but I want to talk to you about something.”

3. Make room for other perspectives. People who hold grudges often think their perspective is the only correct one. Try to encourage employees to present feedback from their perspective, rather than seeing it as the absolute truth of the situation, Shaw says.

4. Help employees manage their perceptions. Sometimes, workplace grudges bubble up because one employee doesn’t understand why another employee gets extra flexibility. This might seem like preferential treatment, but maybe this staffer has worked out a plan to manage a chronic illness or care for a family member. As a leader, you might say, “I can’t share private details, but we’re working with this employee to accommodate a need they have. I’d do the same for you, and please don’t hesitate to talk to me if you experience difficult circumstances.”

5. Select the right setting. When trying to work through a workplace grudge, don’t do it in public where everyone can hear the discussion. Instead, Shaw suggests a conference room, café or virtual conversation.

6. Foster a healthy group dynamic. In the long term, Shaw says you can prevent some conflict by working on your team culture. When your employees have common goals, respect for each other’s strengths and the mindset that everyone wants to do well, they’re more likely to give each other some grace and offer support when things are difficult.

Occasional frustrations happen at work. It’s important, though, to not let them fester into full-blown grudges. If you notice tension on your team, consider the guidance above to help everyone move past their resentments in a healthy way.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers

Source: Kimberly J. Shaw is a senior corporate employee relations advisor with more than 20 years of experience.