I recently gave a training course on managing relationships at work and thought it would be nice to adapt the section on the actions we can take to build relationships for this blog post.
It seems so obvious that having good working relationships leads to higher productivity yet many people don’t make this direct link. Good relationships lead to more innovation and creativity at work as people feel confident enough to express themselves, time consuming, energy draining obstacles such as office politics and back stabbing are removed and of course, if you want to progress in your career, a good relationship with your boss is fundamental.
So what can we do to build better relationships at work? Here are some ideas.
- Develop your people skills: without a doubt, good relationships begin with good people skills. Think about how you fare in the areas of communication skills, handling conflicts, emotional intelligence, dealing with difficult people and positivity – do you need more training in these areas?
- Schedule time to work on your relationships: Be proactive, building relationships often takes patience and time. Devote 20 or 30 minutes of your day in 5 minutes chunks for example by inviting people for coffee, responding to their tweets or interacting with them on linkedin.
- Focus on your Emotional Intelligence (EI): a major part of EI is about understanding our own emotions and what they are telling us. Good communication skills begin with understanding ourselves more deeply. Be aware of what you’re projecting, how positive or negative is it?
- Appreciate others: Show your appreciation if someone helps you, everyone from the cleaner to the boss is looking for appreciation, it’s one of the greatest motivators!
- Manage your boundaries: Part of maintaining a healthy relationship is about being assertive around where your limits are regarding the behaviour of others. For example if a work colleague starts to monopolise your time, speak about it with them to let them know how this is affecting your work. If you don’t, you will start to feel resentful and you will project an energy that gives a negative signal to your colleague which will then start to impact on the relationship.
- Be positive: nobody likes to be around negative people who complain all the time. Positivity is contagious and attractive and it helps in strengthening your relationships.
- Avoid gossiping: gossiping is an office ‘no-no’. If you are experiencing conflict with someone at work, speak to them directly about it. Get things out into the open and begin the necessary dialogue.
- Listen actively: the best communicators are fantastic at listening. People respond to those who truly listen to them and it’s one of the quickest ways of building trust – a fundamental characteristic of good relationships.
Think about those relationships that you feel could be improved, especially the ones with people who might have a stake in your success or failure at work. Just applying one of the above ideas could make a significant difference in the future!