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Hilary Ellis

5 mindshifting tips to manage difficult relationships

Posted by Hilary Ellis

850 Days Ago

Relationships can strain to breaking point at key moments like Christmas or holidays as we rush to get work completed and we spend more time with family and friends. But every relationship - be it business or personal, positive or difficult - has its own unique characteristics. It can really help to understand that better.

Stop to think about a challenging relationship you care about for a moment. You have your own voice and part to play in creating its qualities, as does the other person. By giving yourself a chance to consider the different positions, you can gain valuable insights and handle it differently. Here are some top tips for managing relationship problems: 

  1. Know the impact on you - what happens when you are with this person, what do you feel and what is your position? 
  2. Keep your cool - if the person triggers anger or frustration, take a few slow breaths and count to ten before speaking.If you can’t, leave the subject alone until you have had time to cool down
  3. Go over to the other side - take some quiet reflection time to leave behind your own position and you put yourself in the other person’s shoes. What is their view on this and what do they feel?
  4. Now step into the shoes of your relationship - step back from the locked positions of you and the other person. Let yourself become the relationship, really feel into it as a living entity. What does the relationship see and need? What are you aware of now and what action can you take?
  5. Don’t be defensive - finally, what if there is just 2% truth in what they say? And if you can take responsibility for your part, what about them? Ask open and non-blaming questions to build a common understanding about how you can work better together to resolve difficulties.

We’d love to hear what works for you - email us at

Know someone who is struggling with a difficult relationship at work? Pass these tips on to them!

Hilary Ellis

Article written by Hilary Ellis - Hove

My name is Hilary Ellis. I'm a career and leadership coach helping individuals to unlock their true potential and achieve the changes they are seeking in their careers and in their lives. Whether you are a company executive or employee, associate or partner in a professional firm, free-lancer or an entrepreneur... [read more]

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