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How to Improve Relationships at Work

by Dec 9, 2019

Today every company expects meaningful work from the workforce. That meaningful work encompasses working with a strong team in addition to having your dream job and realization as a valued member of the company.

It’s important to develop strong relationships with team members, project managers, senior management, vendors, clients, customers, direct reports and administrators.

Cultivating good relations at the workplace is essential to experience meaningful work, good institutional performance, career growth, and promotions.

Having good workplace relationships is not just about getting together at happy hour, it is about the quality of teamwork leading to lasting professional bonds that benefit your career, and your quality of life.

Ways to Improve Working Relationships

There are two important ways to improve your relationships at work. First and foremost is gratitude. The simple act of being grateful for where the company is and the trailblazers that got it there, will set the context for how you relate to everyone at the office.

The second way is to listen. Listen carefully to everyone. Listening is a more recommended communication skill than speaking. Listening also enables you to give more appropriate responses when needed. If you insert your commentary into everything without understanding actual situations, you will often lose respect.

“If you know the culture, norms and ways you can contribute value at work, it will enable your ability to freely express yourself.”

Good etiquette and manners are also needed to establish good relations with colleagues. Always behave politely and accurately when you are around your co-workers. Keep your voice down while on calls to avoid creating disturbance for others who are trying to work, this is especially important in open office spaces.

Request help with “please” and receive it with “thank you”. Observe table manners while eating. Such small things would eliminate the chances of others getting irritated by you.

“While you are not responsible for other people’s feelings, you are responsible for how you show up with your behavior and mannerisms, which can trigger other people.”

Another good way to improve your relationships at work is to schedule time to build and maintain relationships. Fix some time, even if just 15 minutes, to interact with others in the office; reply to their posts on social networks; make time to share in their celebrations and time of grief. The practice of making time for others proactively is essential to be able to get closer to colleagues.

If you are a remote worker, invite people to have a virtual lunch or coffee with you over a video call. Just because you are not physically in the office, it does not mean you need to operate as a lone wolf.

“All it takes is a little bit of effort to let people know you want to be in a positive mutually supportive workplace relationship with them.”

If you want to strengthen professional bonds, it is important that you consider that everyone else at the workplace is human just like you. Your colleagues are not resources, human capital, workers, or even employees — they are people just like you.

If someone for example isn’t performing well, they might be going through some personal or emotional crises. Get to know them. Talk to them to know their interests, dreams, personal lives, hobbies and problems. The more you know them, the more your relationships will grow.

It is sometimes intimidating, challenging or even nerve-wracking to bond with co-workers that have a different nature, beliefs, and opinions than we do. One general rule is to practice care and respect for them and their opposite nature.

“Don’t declare others on the wrong side if they are not on your side on views and beliefs. Differences don’t mean better or worse, they are simply differences.”

We often try to avoid differences; this is a big mistake and small-minded thinking. Rather, take differences as a way to learn more about why people do what they do. If some of your team-mates have different ways of doing things that you can’t understand, don’t demonize them for it, and don’t write them off either. Rather try to learn the reasons behind their thinking with the simple intent to understand, you don’t have to agree.

Remember, there is never a perfect way to do anything in life. Differences are always the basis of learning. By respecting other people’s way of working, and being, this will create a positive bond.

Your behavior should express that you want to learn from other’s expertise, and you have the ability and willingness to help them too. Ask other team members if you can help them with their tasks and ask for help with your work. Increasing engagement at the workplace will enhance your probability to have positive working relationships.

It is very important to show gratitude to the people that assist you with your training and development. Thankfulness will increase your respect in the eyes of others and increase their desire to work with you.

“Gratitude is an expense-free credit for others. Everyone loves to receive gratitude, and by giving it, your own value increases in the eyes of the recipient.”

In the case of failure in any project, acknowledge the challenges and issues that caused strains and take responsibility, instead of blaming others. Take feedback about the failure from others and learn from them. This will increase your respect in the eyes of co-workers.

If you are a leader, don’t forget to regularly show appreciation for people’s contributions. 79% of the workers quit the job due to lack of appreciation from leaders. After putting a lot of effort and hard work for weeks, if your team is not getting a gesture of appreciation from you, that will drive them to the edge.

Lack of appreciation will create a rift between you and your team and ultimately workplace relationships deteriorate. To establish and maintain a good relationship, appreciate generously. Praise and recognition ensures employees they are valued.

“As much as people know their own value, proactive and regular recognition goes a long way to foster better working relationships.”

Workplace relationships can deteriorate fast due to gossiping. You talk about someone, and it ends up being transmitted the way you never meant. He said, she said never ends up well, hence, avoid gossip to your best abilities. Take the opposite route. Talk positively about your co-workers and express their skills to others, especially to leaders in the company.

Despite making all these efforts, disputes will come up. When they do, don’t take too long to make up. Go to the colleague. Talk about the misunderstanding and ways to resolve it. This increases mutual respect.

Personal Benefits

An overall friendly environment at the office helps to make the work easy and enjoyable. In this state of being, colleagues share their expertise and work as team members, leading to more ease and convenience to accomplish tasks.

If many minds help and cooperate on projects, more ideas will always emerge. A workplace with good relations among co-workers opens the doors for innovation and creativity.

With active discussions, all aspects of certain projects are explored. Some of the colleagues share ideas, others can give constructive criticism without a focus on finding faults. When teams work this way, they are operating from a place of mutual respect. This kind of environment create a sense of satisfaction among all team members.

Conversely, leg-pulling and negative attitudes at the workplace not only impact the personal performance but also halt ways to develop as a team and make progress. If you have better relationships at the workplace your ability to advance and gain recognition will also increase. Better workplace relationships are crucial for quality work and consequently career advancement.

Organizational Benefits

When the employees don’t waste their time and energy on overcoming the challenges of negative attitude and bad organizational relations but focus on their jobs and cooperate to accomplish tasks, it is sure to result in a successful company.

The reduction of stress increases productivity, creativity and innovation. Better working relationships definitely enhance the performance of the company. Furthermore, in a friendly environment, everyone supports each other, and it becomes a cooperative team environment with shared goals and passion.

Good relationships in the workplace are the key requirement today to achieve excellence in any business or organization. Friendly environments result in maximum productivity, innovative creativity, ultimate satisfaction, career development and overall best institutional performance.

Business Innovation Brief

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