In every conflict, there is a time when it is big enough to be recognised, yet small enough to be resolved
— Daniel Dana

As usual, I have been thinking much about the value of relationships this week and there are two things that I would like to touch on. Here is the first.

About three weeks ago I fell out with someone. We had a bit of a barney. In fact, it was much more than a bit. This is someone who is in the same industry as me and I have an ongoing working relationship with. She was questioning me about the content and quality of our mediation training and how we do what we do. I found her tone and manner condescending. She hadn’t even been a delegate on one of our courses.

She struck a wire in me that made me react. As you may know, we take what we do very seriously and the inference that anything was otherwise made me see red. I asked her to clarify what she was saying and nothing changed. Our discussion went on for some 30 minutes or so. It was heated. When we finished and went our separate ways, we barely said goodbye to each other. I was livid. We hadn’t spoken since.

Last Monday, I was thinking about a few things and she came to my mind. By now I had calmed down. I thought about calling her but my pride got in the way. By Wednesday, the episode was still taking up space in my mind, so I plucked up the courage to call. I said I’d like to meet with her to talk about our bust up. She agreed. We are meeting this week. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Secondly, I was speaking with someone last week and one of the things we talked about was a former colleague that we both used to work with. Our former colleague had secured a great job a few years ago and for some reason decided to sever ties with previous acquaintances. Things had changed though. He had now lost his job and had called the person I was speaking with the day before asking for help.

I couldn’t help but think about the importance of preserving relationships wherever possible. In relation to job search in particular, it is still true that around two thirds of senior job opportunities are unadvertised. It is the power of relationships through networks that often help people source new roles. Even in this time of economic uncertainty, I continue to hear about exciting opportunities that exist. I think I may have told the story before of a woman who received a call from a HR director asking for recommendations for a particular role. She knew of someone who would be ideal, but because of a spat they had had a few months before, chose not to provide his name. My advice will always be to work hard on the principle of maintaining and building relationships.


Events and courses

Preventing bullying and harassment training

Mediation Services


Recent unfair dismissal ruling ‘loss or stolen’ (lengthy read)

Gender-equality quotas move a step closer

Important for women to be ‘likeable’

Employers warned to adopt to a changing and diverse workforce

Helen RobinsonRelationships