Building positive relationships at work can make or break your longevity at a job. Whether or not teamwork is a critical component of your day-to-day workload, having open communication, support, and knowledge-sharing opportunities with the folks you spend so much of your time with can make the difficult things easier, and the easy things more fun. Improving relationships at work, whether they’re new relationships or struggling ones, takes a bit of effort. Luckily, a few small shifts can yield big results.
When you set out to start improving relationships at work, you want to begin slowly. Like any relationship, coming on too strong too soon can cause a strange dynamic. After all, even though you’re at work, you’re all still humans. So here are some tips for easing in.
You might be quick on your feet and fast to react if someone does something unappealing to you. While it can be tempting to put pressure on those around you to live up to certain standards, consider allowing some time to pass before addressing issues with those you work with. Understand that everyone has different priorities, styles, and behaviors and they won’t all please you. Instead of allowing emotional reactivity to come between you and a colleague, let a few days pass and if the issue still needs addressing, do so calmly and effectively. Calm, respectful, and effective communication is among the most important workplace relationship tools.
Oftentimes improving relationships at work requires we also improve our relationships with ourselves. If we’re struggling with self-worth or self-esteem, we may be a little quick on the draw to blame others, especially when the pressure’s on. If you feel that you’re getting extra heat or notice that your work isn’t up to par, own it. Inquire about what can be improved instead of finding ways to shirk the blame.
Learning how to improve relationships at work means gaining an understanding of your existing faults. This is to help you know what areas need improvement. Venting about work, at work, is common. But it can create an air of negativity and paint you as a complainer. This can lead to confrontation or ongoing conflict. Venting is healthy, just do it outside of the office. And when you’re at work, try to come up with solutions to your problems instead.
Even if someone’s complaining directly about you, it might not have anything to do with you. So long as you’re taking responsibility for your work and utilizing effective communication, make sure you’re not overpersonalizing someone else’s stress. Improving relationships at work means recognizing not everyone is on the hunt with malicious intent.
If you really want to learn how to improve relationships at work, start listening more. Hear what other people have to say about their work experiences, their knowledge, their perspective on things. Take conflict or stress as opportunities to learn. This can help you improve your own approaches in the long-run.
Another one of the best workplace relationship tools is appreciation. Whether you’re expressing gratitude to your boss for helpful guidance, your peers for a great team effort or a support staff for the ways in which they make your life easier, being authentically out-loud about your appreciation can go a long way. Appreciation can even help quell conflict if used in genuinely intense situations.
There are several approaches to take when improving relationships at work and they might not all work for each individual. But taking small steps toward a more understanding, respectful, and collaborative relationship can have big, long-lasting impacts. If you need help improving relationships at work, contact Pollack Peacebuilding today!