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Had a workplace grudge? Me too.

Updated: Aug 5, 2021

A few weeks ago, you would have seen a post about living the dream in Queenstown, getting out to the local ski fields and mountains each morning before work.

Karma got me.

Normally when we go up, we feed our 8-month-old puppy, and leave the gate on the stairs closed so she has a limited area to destroy things.

On this occasion, we decided to give her an opportunity to prove she could be trusted in the house.

This is what we were welcomed back to.

For those who have dogs you will know, unless you catch a dog in the act of doing the bad thing, you have a snowballs chance in hell that they will put two and two together, and understand the thing you are scolding them for now, is the amazing adventure they had 2 hours ago.

I was so mad.

My beautiful plant.

A morning spent vacuuming.

The carpet that will no doubt need a professional clean.

However, my subsequent stomping around, harrumphing and sighing was not going to change the outcome.

Furthermore, our puppy has no idea why I am not giving her pats or treats with the same frequency as usual.

It got me thinking about professional and organisational grudges.

Call them what you want, grudges, grievances, or resentment, we have all had them.

When a colleague, or maybe a competitor in the market has done something you don’t like or don’t agree with. Those things that cause you to stomp, harrumph and sigh around the office.

Are those emotions serving us?

Is our displeasure changing the outcome?

I once went to a swanky overseas event where several illustrious industry leaders were meeting. It was my first time at an event like this. On introducing myself to a person, one particular leader said – “Don’t bother introducing yourself to me, we are never going to be friends”. This person was from a competitor brand and obviously had an organisational grudge.

Emotions like this are massive energy pits.

They suck emotional positivity and increase anger and stress, within ourselves and others around us. What's worse, we can often get ourselves stuck, replaying this emotion over and over again, until it limits our ability to make organisational steps towards the future.

With our puppy, we had set her up to fail.

  • We had given her limited information,

  • hadn’t set enough boundaries,

  • checked for understanding, and more importantly,

  • we had not given her an open communication link to check on her progress.

I know it sounds silly, but say you are upset at a colleague for not completing a project on time, doing it incorrectly, or landing you in a sticky situation – ask yourself, did you set them up to fail?

  • Did you ask enough questions?

  • Did you make yourself available?

  • Did they have the right tools?

  • Have you checked in with them regularly to check on their progress?

While it is not healthy to blame ourselves for everything. We can use the process to learn, amend our approach for the next time and give ourselves a context check on our grudge.

Because sadly, the damage of holding that grudge is more likely to affect us — than those responsible for the event.

Look for a healthy way to resolve your feelings.

My recommendations:

  1. Talk with a trusted friend or mentor about the situation. They may lend a different or needed perspective.

  2. If possible, discuss the situation directly with the individual involved, hiding, and seething about it, will not serve anyone.

  3. Helicopter yourself out of the situation. Giving yourself a higher perspective, you should be able to ask yourself questions like: ‘is it going to matter in 100 years?’ and, ‘what other progress or goals are being impeded because of my toxic feelings?’.

If in doubt, take a deep breath.

Get the dust pan and clean up the mess with a smile on your face, maybe you can trick your brain into not being mad.

Blue Mercury Leadership facilitates those conversations we are all too busy to have. Empathetic, authentic, and honest conversations about how we can bring the best of ourselves to the office each day. Feel free to read more, or reach out to us at


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