Building and Sustaining Positive Relationships in the Workplace

Copyright (c) 2006 Gail Solish
Actualize Your Goals

It’s Monday morning and you’ve only been at the office for a couple of hours. The phone has not stopped ringing, you’ve barely made a dent in your emails, there is a project deadline looming, a team meeting to lead and your boss is concerned and hassling you about the project outcome. Does any of this sound familiar to you? Does it feel overwhelming?

The truth is that order to be successful, productive and less stressed, you need positive, supportive relationships at work. Here are the 7 keys to developing them.

  1. Foster a willingness to listen. Good listening skills are necessary in order to succeed in establishing good relationships with managers, colleagues, and employees. While talking less and listening more can be a challenge at times, it’s important to suspend your own needs and reactions in order “hear” what another person is saying.
  2. Promote a willingness to work collaboratively. Collaboration or “working together” is an extremely important team concept. This means noticing and responding to the comments and requests of others. Each member of the team has value and a role to play so if one or two team members attempt to be “in charge” and view themselves as more valuable, the effectiveness of the whole team may be greatly reduced.
  3. Endeavor to be respectful. The old adage “you catch more flies with honey than vinegar” holds true. Showing respect to others, even if they are unpleasant and rude, exhibits a strong sense of self.
  4. Respond in a timely fashion. Evaluate how timely you are in responding to others. Remember, your response may affect decisions or someone else’s ability to complete projects. When you let someone know you have received their message but don’t have the data they require, at least they know you aren’t ignoring them. Often much time, energy and frustration is expended because people don’t acknowledge a message or request.
  5. Find a mentor. A mentor understands the company culture, how decisions are made and office protocol. Your mentor is willing to answer your questions, share their wisdom and challenge you. Developing a relationship with a mentor can help you transition into a company, a new department or a different job. Having a mentor can help you manage and thrive in a competitive environment.
  6. Eliminate the negativity. Examine your behavior to be sure that you’re not a chronic complainer who never has anything positive to say, the boss who yells at employees under the guise of motivating them, or the person who always blames others for their problems. You’ll also want to limit contact with these toxic influences as much as possible.
  7. Surround yourself with supportive people. People who value, encourage and support you are invaluable both in the workplace and in your personal life. They help you problem solve and deal with the challenges you encounter. They encourage you even while asking tough questions. They don’t always agree with you but rather are with you through “thick and thin”. Identify the supportive people in your life and let them know how much you appreciate them.

Evaluate your work environment and ask yourself: What kind of relationships do I want and need?

Copyright (c) 2005 by Gail Solish. All rights reserved.

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