Michael Bungay Stanier on How to Rescue Difficult Work Relationships and Do Your Best Work

Dr. Chris E. Stout
9 min readAug 1, 2023
Michael Bungay Stanier

Have you ever had the experience of working with someone and they just didn’t “get” you? They do all the things that wind you up, put you off, and drive you nuts. And, have you ever worked with someone, and you just didn’t “get” them? You couldn’t figure out what made them tick, and you know that you were underwhelming, as a manager and leader for them.

Of course you have. We all have.

So why do those situations keep happening? Particularly when we’ve also experienced the opposite — great working relationships that soar. Our working relationships are fundamental, if not critical, to our success and happiness.

Now imagine if you could keep your best relationships humming along for as long as possible. Imagine if you could contain the dysfunction of the messy ones so they’re less painful and more productive. Imagine if you could reset your solidly-OK-relationships so that when they wobble, they could more quickly get back on track.

Well, in his latest book, How To Work with (Almost) Anyone, internationally bestselling author Michael Bungay Stanier writes about a tested process that sets up working relationships for the best possible success. He understands that every working relationship, whether it’s with our direct reports, our boss, or our coworkers, will become challenging at a certain point. In this episode, we’ll discuss how to communicate about who you are, and what brings out the best and the worst in you.

Michael has a gift for distilling big, complex ideas into practical, accessible knowledge for everyday people that helps them be a force for good. He is also at the forefront of shaping how organizations around the world make being coach-like an essential leadership competency. His books have sold over a million copies, with The Coaching Habit topping the Wall Street Journal bestseller list and it is also the best-selling coaching book of this century, with over a million copies sold. Seth Godin called it “the best book on coaching” and Brené Brown said it is “a classic.”