Communicating Good Relations at Work

How good are the relationships that you have with your colleagues?

Having friends at work and people you can trust and share with makes your work-life fun and inviting, as well as necessary – both for income and for your personal purpose and fulfilment.  We are made to grow and learn, striving to be better than yesterday or better than we initially believe we can be!

Professional Relationships

The people we need to work with, to ask for help from and provide other resources all make the organisation work efficiently and effectively so it matters if you get on, if people like you or not, and if you have a co-operative attitude in the workplace.

Your team; networking with other departments; customer care and connection; providers and suppliers; stakeholders in your business; the public and those you meet day to day.

People like people like themselves – it’s a fact and one that makes relations work or not.  Why? Because it’s familiar; we know the etiquette; we relate to similar standards and values; we have a connection – a bond of like to like.

If you believe someone is ‘out of your league’ personally or professionally, you will find it hard to relate to them either because of your self-esteem issues, being uncertain and nervous of acceptable behaviours and attitudes (values, beliefs, expectations) or because they feel that way about you.

Personal Business Relationships

Having more personal relationships at work – calling them friends, even if you only meet at work or chat at lunchtimes – means you are both likely to help each other out more, have each others backs when the going gets tough with workloads, pressure or difficulties, and they will also trust you if you have to make changes that impact on them.  So getting along with the boss can really help as many companies are often changing as their business develops.

Working within good relationships is easier, more freeing so instead of having to spend time resolving issues and managing problems, we can all focus on the opportunities and the business in hand.  Hence mediation at work is crucial for all teams, and managers should be able to spot problems early and help people to overcome them.   Or know who to call to help.

Good relationships are also helpful to build the career we want or develop our business for the self-employed.   If people don’t trust you will do what you say you will, or that your words and body language match and instincts warn us off, then it can really damage our options and opportunities.  We won’t be accepted for a job, not even asked to apply, or a new potential customer will just move on.

Overall try to work on good terms with those around you – nearby, next desk or wider afield in other sites and other companies.

What is a Good Relationship?

Healthy, happy – good – working relationships need to have these common characteristics to make work happy and make it work for you.

Trust is the foundation of every good relationship. Trusting your team and your colleagues helps you to communicate more easily – not always asking but others realising your needs or ‘way of working’ and you with them too.  It helps oil the wheels of performance and outcomes.  You can communicate more effectively because you already know they will keep their word and deliver the goods you need from them to make your job more work well.  You can be open and honest rather than having to  “watch your back”

Mutual Respect – Valuing other people’s input, ideas, way of working and together be able to adapt how you work together – one to one, manager to staff, project teams or departmental teams.   This also allows space to be innovative, manage change, support new ways of doing and being able to have down days at times that means other might have to help you out, knowing you will do the same for them if they need it.

Responsibility – being responsible for what you say and how, and your behaviour, means if there is a blip (irritable, distracted, odd mistakes) people understand there is an important underlying reason and will help you resolve it and manage your heavy workload that appears to stress you, or understand there is stuff at home impacting work concentration.   Be aware of what you are saying and doing – and why.  Explain if you have to, don’t wait until it spoils a relationship or leads to problems with management.

Accept Diversity – Good relationships involve acceptance that everyone is different, they don’t and often can’t work like you do, or would like them too (making your work easier).  They don’t intend to be difficult, so you and they need to adapt to each other.  This may involved watching and learning, understanding and asking, clarifying what is happening and why (or why not) and working through it helpfully and care-fully.

Different or opposite opinions because their values and needs are different, they have different expectations from their own previous experiences and they have other influences on their mind-set.

Honest Communication – We communicate all day, whether we know it or not.  Our body language tells people what and how we are feeling (and thinking); if we are sending emails or letters, the tone of the message shows through; meeting face-to-face our body, voice and eye contact shows the truth.  So be honest with your words too.  effective relationships are richer for honest and true feedback, sharing and receiving the right message to be able to work with effectively and realistically.

How to Build Good Work Relationships

People skills involve your Emotional Intelligence, a buzz word but realistically what it is.   Knowing your emotional state and understanding the emotional responsible and underlying reason means you can manage it better.  How Good Are Your People Skills?

  1. Look at your own needs – what is if you want/need from others and why, how could they help you to meet your needs (and you meet theirs too remember) – co-operation, compromise, understanding, awareness and acceptance of diversity.
  2. Building good relationships takes time. Spend even a few moments chatting a the coffee bar, on the way in and out of work in the lift, lunchtimes and breaks or passing information to each other.

A smile, thank you and how are you? is often all it takes to keep relationships going and going well, once you have built them carefully.   Business relatiosnhips online is also an option – Facebook (take care personal v professional), comments via Linked In or sharing Twitter feeds and tags perhaps.

Appreciating people for being them and there

Show your appreciation whenever someone helps you or passes by you.  The boss, the cleaner, the reception staff or a colleague – everyone wants to belong and be part of the team, and everyone is so remember this.  And you like appreciation of a job well done – do the same for others, even if it wasn’t for you.  Congratulations and sharing their achievements really helps and if genuine, builds the bonds stronger.

Be Positive

Focus on being as positive as you can, day to day.   There will be things in life that bring you down, but at work try to be helpful, polite and co-operative.  If you need help or space, let people know what’s going on (not in details, just a ‘down day’ for example).

Manage Your Boundaries

Make sure that you set boundaries – professional v personal, can’t v can do every time, explain distances and don’t push friendly chat when people are busy.   Be assertive about your own time and boundaries – not always saying yes, not always being available, not always pushing other people’s needs beyond what they can offer

Active Listening

Although there may be times when you haven’t got space, try to actively listen to people you interact with.  Nodding, eye contact, mmm and oh, aah I see/hear/feel for you can go a long way to building the bond of trust and to allow people to feel heard.  you need it, they need it.  But it has to be genuine and might take some time so if there isn’t enough time there and then, schedule it for later or out of work if it’s a more personal issue.