Repairing damaged relationships with co-workers requires rethinking how you may perceive them and taking the risk to be vulnerable and open with them, even if they still refuse to rebuild trust with you, writes Joseph Grenny. “You’ll stand confidently even during long periods when others aren’t ready for healthy connection because your focus is not on getting what you want, but on being who you want to be,” Grenny writes.




Dear Joseph,

How do you start over with a colleague who does not like you, does not want to talk with you or work with you, and has gone out of their way to try to make you look bad on several occasions? I stopped speaking to this person six months ago, but I’d like to try to rebuild trust with this person. How do I even begin?

Fresh Start


Dear Fresh Start,

Unfortunately, you can’t start over. There is no way to erase hurts and wrongs of the past—those done by the other person or by you. And nothing you can do will guarantee warmth and friendship with your colleague. In fact, if what you’re looking for is a way of getting them to treat you better, I’ve got nothing. This may be more than you were asking for, but I don’t think I’d be a true friend if I didn’t offer my best to you. So here you go…

I believe it is impossible to separate character from connection. The quality of my relationships with the most imperfect people in my life are the best measure of my own development. In other words, personal development is the foundation of all interpersonal success. I apologize if I’m being too autobiographical here, but so much of your question makes me wince as I recall times in my life when I’ve framed my problems the same way.