Making Work Enjoyable and Productive
How good are the relationships that you have with your colleagues?
According to the Gallup organization, people who have a best friend at work are seven times more likely to be engaged in their jobs. People who have a good friend in the workplace are more likely to be happy. Good work relationships are also linked to better customer engagement and increased profit.
In this article, you will learn why it is crucial to have good working relationships and how to build and maintain them.
Why Have Good Work Relationships?
Human beings are naturally social creatures. And when you consider that we spend one-third of our lives at work, it is clear that good relationships with colleagues will make our jobs more enjoyable.
The more comfortable co-workers are around one other, the more confident they will feel voicing opinions, brainstorming, and going along with new ideas, for example. This level of teamwork is essential to embrace change, create, and innovate. And when people see the successes of working together in this way, group morale and productivity soars.
Good work relationships also give you freedom. Instead of spending time and energy dealing with unpleasant relations, you can, instead, focus on opportunities – from winning new business to building your professional skills.
And having a positive professional circle will also help you to develop your career, opening up opportunities that otherwise might pass you.
Defining a Good Relationship
A good work relationship requires trust, respect, self-awareness, inclusion, and open communication. Let us explore each of these characteristics.
- Trust: When you trust your team members, you can be open and honest in your thoughts and actions. And you do not have to waste time or energy watching your back.
- Respect: Teams working together with mutual respect value each other’s input and find solutions based on collective insight, wisdom, and creativity.
- Self-awareness: This means taking responsibility for your words and actions, and not letting your own negative emotions impact the people around you.
- Inclusion: Do not just accept diverse people and opinions, but welcome them! For instance, when your colleagues offer a different view from yours, factor their insights and perspective into your decision-making.
- Open communication: all good relationships depend on open, honest communication. Whether you are sending emails or SMS or meeting face-to-face or on video calls, the more effectively you communicate with those around you, the better you will connect.
Which Work Relationships Are Important?
Although you should try to build and maintain good working relationships with everyone, some deserve extra attention, like the relationship between a boss and an employee. Gallup found that a manager alone can account for up to 70 percent of the engagement of a team.
Regular one-on-ones let managers build relationships with employees. At these catch-ups, you can show how the work of an individual fit with the bigger picture of an organization, understand their strengths and help them identify key areas to develop.
You can also explore managing upwards, to analyze how your manager prefers to work, anticipate their needs, and adapt your approach for a smoother relationship.
With key stakeholders, you will also benefit from developing good work relationships. These stakeholders, such as customers, suppliers, and your team have a stake in your success or failure. Forming a bond with them will help you to ensure that your projects – and career – stay on track.
How to Build Good Work Relationships
Building close connections with people can take time. But there are also steps you can take today to get on better with your colleagues.
1. Identify Your Relationship Needs
Do you know what you need from others? And do you know what they need from you? Understanding these needs can be instrumental in building better relationships.
2. Develop Your People Skills
Good relationships start with good people skills.
3. Focus on Your EI
Emotional Intelligence (EI) is your ability to recognize and better understand your own emotions. By developing your EI, you will become more adept at identifying and handling the emotions and needs of others.
4. Practice Mindful Listening
People respond better to those who truly listen to what they have to say. By practicing mindful listening, you will talk less and understand more as well as become known as trustworthy.
5. Schedule Time to Build Relationships
If possible, you could ask a colleague out for a quick cup of coffee. Or give a one-minute kindness by commenting on a co-worker’s LinkedIn post you enjoyed reading. These little interactions take time but lay the groundwork for a positive relationship.
6. Manage Your Boundaries
Make time, but not too much! Sometimes, a working relationship can impair productivity, especially when a friend or colleague begins to monopolize your time. It’s crucial to set your boundaries and manage how much time you devote to social interactions at work.
7. Appreciate Others
Everyone, from your boss to the intern, wants to feel that their work is appreciated. So, genuinely compliment the people around you when they do something well. Praise and recognition will open the door to great work relationships.
8. Be Positive
Focus on being positive. Positivity is contagious, and people gravitate to those that make them feel good.
9. Avoid Gossiping
Office politics and gossip can ruin workplace relationships. If you’re experiencing conflict with someone in your group, talk to them directly about the problem. Gossiping with other colleagues will only exacerbate the situation, accelerating mistrust.
Some work relationships will be more difficult than others. But with thought, time, and some effort, these can become mutually beneficial, too.