7 Tips for Managing Work Relationships
People who have a good friend in the workplace are more likely to be satisfied with their jobs, and workers who have a best friend in the workplace are seven times more likely to be engaged in their work.
Good relationships give employees a certain amount of freedom. They don’t have to focus on the problems that come with negative relationships, but instead can focus on opportunities. Besides good relationships are better for your career, and they also can impact interactions with clients and customers.
Good relationships are made up of trust, mutual respect, embracing diversity, and keeping lines of communication open. So how do you manage your work relationships effectively?
Develop People Skills
You need skills like collaboration, clear communication, and conflict resolution, but it is not all about just developing these soft skills. The five most essential people skills are as follows:
- Inflict Excitement: Your emotions are contagious. Be excited, and others will be too.
- Avoid Dream killers: Avoid close connections with people who shut down excitement, passion or joy in others because they are disengaged, depressed, or jealous.
- Add, Don’t Subtract: Don’t be a dream killer yourself. Add to a conversation and ask reciprocating questions.
- Decode Hidden Emotions: Pick up on cues to understand how people are really feeling (more on that in a moment)
- Stop People Pleasing: Be able to say no to the wrong people so you can say yes to the right ones, and put your energy there.
Developing this set of skills will greatly enhance your work relationships. However, building these relationships is about more than just building skills.
Discover Emotional Intelligence
In order to be emotionally intelligent, you need to not only be in touch with your own emotions and how you feel in any given moment, but also about being able to understand the feelings of others and sense where they are coming from.
This means you must regulate yourself and be able to empathize well with others even if you disagree with them. Developing solid emotional intelligence is possible, but some people have more natural aptitude than others in this area. Make this a priority for both you and your employees.
Be thankful, and let people know that you are grateful for their help and their efforts. This means everyone from your boss to the janitorial staff. Don’t fake this. Actually understand the value of what other people do, and show them gratitude not just in words, but in what you do for them as well.
Be vocal. Express your appreciation out loud and even announce it publicly. If you are in a leadership position, offer real rewards and recognition.
Schedule Time to Build Relationships
If it’s all business, all the time, you won’t ever really develop good relationships at work. It’s not just about getting the job done right now, but about investing time in relationships that will pay off in the future.
If you don’t make time for social activities and forming relationships intentionally, it won’t happen. Sometimes this means outsourcing tasks that would normally take up large parts of your time. This may mean hiring video marketing services like Square Ship or simply streamlining a few processes using programs like Asana for project management, and Slack for team communication.
Again, focus on being positive. People do not want to be around someone who is negative all the time. Besides, it leads to you being the dream killer you want to avoid.
Even when things are difficult, try to find a positive or humorous aspect of it. This will help others to trust you and your judgement, as long as you are not unrealistic at the same time.
Manage your Boundaries
Want to avoid spending time with dream killers? Manage your boundaries, and make sure people know them. At the same time, keep your work and home life separate as much as possible.
Also, let others know when it is time to work and when it is time to socialize. While you can mix the two to a certain extent, you need to have boundaries with your time and energy.
One of the most effective ways to develop better work relationships is to listen. It is not enough just to nod in the right places. You need to actively listen, asking relevant questions, and reflect back to the user what they are saying to make sure you understand. There are a few key things you need to do.
- Receiving: you need to be able to hear the person. If you are in a distracting or noisy environment, move to a better location.
- Understanding: This is something you show by the reflection and asking relevant questions mentioned above.
- Responding: Once the person talking has finished, you need to respond by addressing their concerns or showing empathy.
- Remembering: Many of us are challenged with short-term memory issues, and we are so busy we tend to forget what we have heard even a short time ago. Working hard to remember what you have been told will help a lot with your work relationships.
Active listening is something that takes practice, but with time you can become very skillful at it.
Good work relationships profit everyone in the long run. You’ve got to develop people skills, emotional intelligence, and show appreciation. You can’t do this unless you intentionally make time for these things, and for social interaction. Be positive and manage your boundaries, and learn to actively listen to those around you.
Your work environment will not only be more pleasant but your business will be more profitable as well.