top of page
case studies (1600 × 330 px).png

Case Study 2
The Impact of Strained Relationships in the Workplace



We pride ourselves on confidentiality, and therefore the names of individuals and companies will be changed. However, the circumstances are factual.

Jane moved to Australia 6 years ago and has worked with Company A, a large mining company, for the past four months.


Jane was very experienced and had high technical knowledge. She had worked within the mining and construction industries for many years, both in Australia and overseas.


Her team were male-orientated and multi-cultural. She was used to working within diverse groups.


Jane's role involved teamwork, innovative thinking, collaboration, and holding meetings with internal and external stakeholders.



Jane's noticed her relationship with her manager was deteriorating and wasn't on a good trajectory.


She felt stressed and frustrated. It was like her manager was giving her the 'cold shoulder'.


Conversations were short and sharp, and there was no time to express ideas or thoughts on project designs. Jane's manager would put her 'on the spot' during stakeholder meetings, and it felt like he was trying to 'trip her up'. The situation had now started to affect the team.


Jane's anxiety increased each day and affected her family life and general well-being.


Jane had come up against similar situations in the past, but they had always been short-lived. However, this situation was getting worse.



Jane sought counsel from one of her professional colleagues, who recommended contacting Proactive Action.


Following an in-depth consultation with Jane, we had a good understanding of what was happening. There was a 'Cultural Misunderstanding'.


We underwent 1:1 coaching sessions with Jane to give her the knowledge and skills to:

- Gain insights and understanding into cultural 'norms'.

- Develop self and situational awareness

- Conflict resolution skills

- Communication techniques


Role-playing past events gave Jane the confidence and foresight in knowing how to apply her new skills.


We also taught Jane a few stress and anxiety management techniques enabling her to switch off and be present with her family once again



Jane got to work straight away with practising how to reduce her anxiety and stress as well as her newfound communications skills. She couldn't believe the immediate impact it had.


Approaching her manager calmly and incorporating her new skills, she had completely shifted the conversation's dynamic.


As time went on, the 'short and sharp' conversations became more discussions. Jane started to feel heard and acknowledged.


The more she practised, the better the relationship got. They were now working as a team collaborating on project ideas and solutions.


Jane started to adapt her communication style to suit the person she was talking to, enabling them to feel safe to share ideas. The overall morale of the broader team improved and was working more cohesively together.



The overall benefits were to the business, the team and Jane's personal life and family.


Working more collaboratively improves performance and innovation within the business.


The Queensland Government research shows that over 65% of employee performance problems resulted from strained relationships rather than a lack of skill or motivation*.


Research by the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission and Deloitte demonstrates that actively cultivating diversity and inclusion can improve business performance. When employees felt included and thought diversity was supported at work there was shown to be an increase in their ability to innovate (83 per cent uplift), responsiveness to changing customer needs (31 per cent uplift), and team collaboration (42 per cent uplift).**




**Deloitte & Victorian Equal Opportunity & Human Rights Commission 2012, Waiter, is that inclusion in my soup? A new recipe to improve business performance, Deloitte, Sydney

bottom of page