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The Power of the Reset Button
Recovering from the issues raised during a relationship conflict can be difficult. The weight of it tends to linger and invade the thoughts and feelings of both parties.
If extensive and repetitive debate and discussion on the issues has not produced progress, a good leader might suggest to both parties that they consider a relationship reset. Hitting the reset button is a powerful metaphor, one that grants both parties the right to cut ties to the past. To look forward instead of backward. When colleagues reset a relationship they agree to look to the future and avoid commentary about what created conflict in the past.
Not all conflicts should be resolved or managed with a reset. This approach is best reserved for parties who have agreed to work together but occasionally allow past episodes to intrude on the progress they have made. A reset is also a sound strategy when one or both parties have made a regretful decision and would like a “do-over” regarding the negative feelings resulting from the poor choice.
Teams can benefit from a reset as well. When teams struggle to overcome the blame game or passive-aggressive behavior during a difficult period, leaders can suggest a team reset. This fresh start begins with outlining new behaviors and commitments for team members going forward. Sometimes, teams just need to begin anew and a reset provides the language to make this happen.
While we can’t erase the past, the promise of a new beginning can sometimes be a relationship life-saver. The next time a past conflict lingers, consider a relationship reset to chart a new path. Instead of re-hashing past issues, those committed to working through conflict will refocus, readjust, restart and reset.