Considering just how much time of your week you spend at work, it is essential to build a pleasant and positive environment. Not only will you enjoy going to work, but your productivity will increase opening you up for success. And one of the most important elements of that positive work environment is the working relationships that you build.
Of course, working relationships are different from personal ones. A personal relationship involves emotions and sharing your personal truths, whereas a working relationship is the interaction you have with colleagues, managers and clients – it is a formal association and its purpose is to improve team work and productivity. The level of intimacy shared with work associates is nowhere near as high as that shared with close friends and family, but it may be a good idea to allow your co-workers in (to some degree)- so they know who you are, what you believe in and that way- how to work well together.
Building strong relationships with your co-workers can take time and effort, but it is worth it in the long run. Here are a few points to get you started:
- Make time for colleagues
By being approachable, you open yourself to not only get to know the team members better, but allow them to know you. This can easily translate into how likely you are to help and support each other in fulfilling the work tasks.
And if you are in a more senior role within the company, by making time for the employees and mentoring and supporting them, you encourage their growth, they become more knowledgeable and independent- and in the bigger picture- their success is your success.
Communication is key to any relationship- professional and personal. So, communicate- often, clearly and politely. And it’s not just about talking. Effective communication also means having good listening skills, so be an active listener.
- Be positive
Building strong working relationships allows you to create a positive working environment. And you cannot achieve that if you keep complaining. Nobody wants to be the grumpiest person in the office. So smile, look at the bright side. Yes, it does sound a little cheesy, but this way you encourage co-workers to include you in, if they feel comfortable around you and if you project positive energy, others are more likely to do the same.
A positive outlook will also allow to motivate yourself and others to perform better- instead of expressing worry about an approaching deadline, try to use that deadline as a motivator.
- Be helpful and proactive
Your performance at work will affect how your co-workers perceive you. You are more likely to have good working relationships, if you are good at what you do, but also put in the effort. Nobody likes the lazy person. And as much as it is not a popularity contest, you will have your colleagues’ and managers’ respect if you work hard. And even more so, if you help others achieve their goals. Who knows, next time you might be the one behind on a project and someone who you helped last time, will be there for you now?
- Steer away from gossip
If you want to be trusted at work, it is best to avoid gossip. So don’t engage I rumours and try to change the subject, if possible. And most certainly do not spread gossip. You wouldn’t want people whispering about you behind your back, would you? A gossip free office is a healthy work environment. And being able to trust co-workers with something a little more personal, creates a friendly, more family-like atmosphere.
Working full time, we spend a big chunk of our week at work. Nurturing the relationships with people surrounding us during these hours, will have the following results:
- Work is more pleasurable- if you enjoy the company of your co-workers, time goes faster;
- You can achieve better results- if there is no need to focus on conflicts or avoiding talking to certain people and you try to get on well with everyone, you can focus on what is important- your work and your success. Who knows, maybe even a promotion?
- Work friendships- if you are lucky, you can end up making friends at work, some of those friendships will last longer than your employment at the same company. But do not force anything;
- Connections- not every person you come across in your career will be your friend, but if you build a strong work relationship with them anyway- they may end up being that connection for your next step in your professional development.
So today we encourage you to think about your current work relationships and what you could do to improve them.