Many of us spend more time awake at work than we do at home, so it's fair to say that workplace relationships are fairly important for a successful life. Great working relationships can help improve your teamwork skills, job satisfaction and your output. If you previously haven’t invested any time or energy into building great connections with your colleagues, now is the time to start. Here are our top four strategies for building better relationships at work.
1. Don’t take your stress out on others
Have you ever worked with someone whose moods changed more often than the weather? If you want to build great relationships at work, don’t be that person. Not every day is amazing, and in real life, that’s just how it works. But in a professional workplace you need to try and isolate stresses, address the stress, whatever its cause may be, and don’t take out your frustrations on your colleagues no matter how you’re feeling. If your blood is boiling over a work issue or tensions are starting to rise, take yourself away from the situation to cool down. Go for a short walk, or grab a glass of water, take some deep breaths and start thinking about the big picture. Regardless of your mood, it’s essential that you always remain courteous and polite to everyone you work with. Now, that doesn’t mean being a doormat, but just remember there’s ways to be assertive when you need to without being the bane of everyone’s existence.
2. Make time for your staff
If you manage staff, it’s imperative that you’re approachable and open to discussions. There’s nothing worse than staff being fearful to ask for help, or worse, scared to admit to you when they have made mistakes. To build a great team, and great relationships within that team, communication is the key. Regular staff meetings are helpful, but also make time for one-on-one’s so that any issues can be discussed confidentially. Be supportive, provide recognition for a job well done and be constructive in your feedback to help your staff be the best they can be.
3. Kindness doesn’t cost a thing
Kindness is one of the purest human characteristics that an individual can demonstrate. For harmonious and fulfilling relationships in the workplace, focus on kindness more and pay-scales less. No matter what you’re earning or what the people around you are earning, be kind, polite and friendly to your coworkers. So often the people at the top forget where they started and class distinctions start popping up around the office. If you’re fortunate enough to be promoted through the ranks, don’t ignore people that are below you in the chain of command. The person doing your photocopying or replacing the printer inks is as important as a department manager or CEO. Yes, they do different jobs, but they are still humans working hard as part of a team to achieve the company goals. Treat everyone with respect and get to know your co-workers from the bottom up to build much more meaningful relationships at work.
4. Do your best at all times
When you work as part of a team towards company goals, it’s very important to always do your best. Those that don’t pull their weight invariably are the ones that don’t have great relationships in the workplace because they shirk their own responsibilities or add to the workload of others. Communicate well with others, be a great team player and support your fellow colleagues when they need assistance. If you’re always doing your best and you’re an effective team member, strong relationships will follow.
This article was written by Ellenor Day-Lutz on behalf of the Australian Institute of Business. All opinions are that of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of AIB.