It's the month of manufactured love. February 14th, Valentines's Day is a chance to send those you love something special. But for Kim Kardashian, it's also a chance to send her haters some love.
The social media celebrity and entrepreneur is sending a long list of celebs who don't like her a gift--her new perfume. While it's unclear whether her goal is to make amends or fan the flames of hate, it begs the question: Should we try to make up with our professional enemies?
In your career, your network is your net worth.
We all have former colleagues or bosses we dislike. But when it comes to our careers, it's a small world. You never know when you'll need a reference from someone you used to work with. Or perhaps the person now works at a company you'd love to work for. Burning bridges is the worst thing to do if you want to have a successful career. Having a strong network, filled with people you can tap when needed is an asset these days. Which means, you may just want to swallow your pride and make amends with those from your past that could be of value some day.
These 4 words go a long way: "Hey, can we chat?"
Reaching out on a social media platform like LinkedIn is a great start. Asking the person to connect will give you a sign as to whether he or she might even be open to a conversation. If your connection request is accepted, you can then send a note asking to catch up by phone or over coffee. When you speak, you should focus on keeping the conversation positive and trying to restore the trust and respect needed to move forward. A great thing to keep in mind is everyone has a professional strength. If you can identify what the person's strength is, you can target the conversation around it. An example might be:
"I see you are working at XYZ in marketing now. You were always good at social media. What are some of the things you are working on now that excite you?"
By engaging in a conversation around what your colleague enjoys, it will put the person at ease and make the conversation flow better.
If you get called out, own it.
Lastly, if the person actually asks you why you are trying to re-establish a connection, be honest. It's okay to say,
"I realize our relationship wasn't as good as it could be in the past. I'm trying to improve how I network and support my colleagues. I'm sorry if my past interactions with you weren't as positive as they could be. I'm trying to make amends and hope you will consider re-establishing our relationship."
It's harder for someone to dismiss you when you're being accountable for your past actions. But, if they do, chalk it up as experience and move on. At least you tried...