Having worked at the top of organizations for decades, I often have a bird’s eye view of their interpersonal dynamics. It may surprise you to know that one of the skills I see some senior leaders still haven’t mastered, even at this point in their careers, is getting along with others.

I have observed C-suite executives who simply cannot get along, listen to each other or respect each other. They are unable to broaden their perspectives for the good of the organization. They are incapable of resolving critical issues in a timely and effective manner. At times, it looks like schoolyard playground behavior—at the very top!

Coworker Conflicts

Interpersonal conflicts, whether with toxic bosses, haughty colleagues or condescending peers, are more common than you may think. A study reported in Harvard Business Review reveals that 94% of survey respondents said they had worked with a damaging person within the past five years. A different survey of 2,000 American workers showed that the number one source of stress at work was relationships.

Before I was an executive coach, I was a trader, and early in my career, I had a manager who treated me differently from the rest of the team. He used a different tone with me, he assigned me the toughest work, and I was always the one chosen to stay late to complete a task. I couldn’t understand his behavior because I was a hard worker who produced solid results and went above and beyond in my role.

I was also very young, so I put up with it for a year. But one day, I decided enough was enough. I called for a meeting and asked what I had done to offend him. He responded, “You’re doing great. I don’t have any negative feedback.”

Well, this threw me for a loop. I listed all the ways he treated me differently from the rest of the team, and he was silent. He asked for some time to process my accusations. The next day, he told me that after discussing the situation with his wife, he came to realize that he was unconsciously treating me differently because I was female. (Trading was traditionally an all-male industry at that time.)

From that day forward, our relationship changed. He was able to put aside my gender and treat me as an equal. As a result, I thrived. But it took that very tough conversation to repair our relationship so we could both move forward.

Workplace Headaches

The stressors of the workplace are many. There are numbers to hit, deadlines to meet, people to please and politics to navigate. But by improving your relationships with those you work with, you can reduce job-related stress tremendously. When you play better with others, you will be a much more effective and mature leader, one who responds thoughtfully instead of reacting irrationally.

The following are some suggested ways to get along better with others that will enable you to build deep trust. These aren’t quick fixes, but over time, they can make your interactions more positive. They will also help you build resilience so that when you do engage in workplace conflict, you feel less stress and recover faster.

12 Strategies For Better Workplace Relationships

1. Respond—don’t react. Never let your emotions take control. Don’t make decisions without thoroughly thinking them through. Decisions made in haste or anger are seldom effective.

2. Be curious when you are criticized or attacked. Don’t get upset about negative remarks about yourself, your vision or your decisions. Rather, strive to be living proof that the remarks are false, or take accountability if there are elements that are true, and strive to do better next time. (If you’re wondering what this has to do with curiosity, check out my blog post on the concept.)

3. Treat everyone with respect regardless of their status within the company.

4. Avoid making promises or commitments you cannot keep. The minute you know you can’t keep a promise, let the person who was promised know immediately. In that same conversation, let them know all the moves you have made to triage the problem and deliver on your promise.

5. Show interest in others by being an active listener.

6. Avoid and discourage gossip and back-channeling inappropriately. Gossip is understandable in the workplace—people naturally turn to others to get confirmation of their opinions. However, that immediate gratification can lead to an unprofessional reputation.

7. Be empathetic and sensitive to how others are feeling, especially when you notice they are triggered. (Being “triggered” doesn’t just refer to PTSD; it means experiencing a strong negative emotional or physical reaction in response to a current situation that upsets you. I teach my clients to identify what triggers them, how to notice the onset signs and how to avoid responding in a fight-or-flight mode. Here, it’s about noticing those signs in others.)

8. Discuss issues logically and thoughtfully challenge when necessary, but do not argue or lecture.

9. Always assume positive intent; believe the best of others rather than assuming their intentions were negative or malicious.

10. Embody mood states that are pleasant and inviting and that exude warmth, cheerfulness and positive vibes.

11. If you make a faux pas or sense a relationship is off, authentically seek to repair it.

12. Remember that your perspective is just one of many. No team is going to see eye to eye all the time. So when there are differences of opinion, employ multiple perspectives (as I’ve written about previously) to understand the many other ways to look at any given situation.

All these strategies point to the importance of building self-awareness and improving your capacity to become a better observer of your environment and others, which in turn increases your emotional intelligence.

Building strong relationships is essential for your success, and collaboration is one of the key attributes that make a great leader. Strive for that and embrace it.

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This article was originally published on Forbes.com as a Forbes Coaches Council post.