Do you think your relationships at work need improvement? maybe it’s time to take steps to do this.
Have you ever felt like you were working for The Office’s Michael Scott? And on top of that you have to deal with Dwight, Kelly, Angela and Stanley every single day? Well, if you haven’t, lucky you! As for me, I’ve been in this industry for five years, and have seen my fair share of different personalities. I used to asked myself how Jim and Pam could continue working there all that time. The answer still alludes me to this day. Do you think your relationships at work needs improvement? maybe it’s time to take steps to do this.
In fact, I even did a little research on the subject and according to several sources, people with strong workplace relationships are more likely to be engaged and contribute in their job.
Why? Simple. Because we are human beings and we want to be part of something, to be surrounded by others.
When we feel connected to the people we work with, we also feel connected to the work we do alongside them.
So, how can we accomplish this at our workplace? Well, some relationships (like Jim’s and Pam’s) just happen naturally and things seem to “click” from the beginning. But more often than not, relationships are built through intentional, concerted efforts that take time to develop.
Start with the small things — remember what your co-workers like to eat or ask them about their preferences in music, movies, and TV. A little small talk can go a long way. Once the base is there, start finding ways to spend more time (outside of work) together. Maybe there’s a softball league you can all join, or an event you can attend together. It really doesn’t matter what it is, just that everyone enjoys it.
One of the keys to successful work relationships is balance. Be professional, but not stiff. Be friendly, but not overbearing. You have to respect both sides of the relationship to make things work in each of them.
What about third-party relationships with clients and vendors? There, the relationship is all about trust. You have to prove yourself as a valued partner by going the extra mile, doing your homework, asking important questions and making yourself available when they are. But you also need to do the smaller, more subtle things like remembering their birthday, asking them about their weekend and showing interest in their personal life. Again, the trick is balance. Be there with the critical insight to solve a business problem, and the quick joke to break the ice in board rooms.
Bottom line is, with the rare exception of “love at first sight” (like Jim and Pam), all relationships, and especially work ones, take hard work and time. But, when your coworkers, clients, bosses and vendors are all happy, connected and doing great work alongside you, you’ll be glad you put in the effort. People don’t work in isolation: we need to be working together!