Improving Work Relationships
Traditionally, a leap year February has people thinking about their close personal relationships. However, given that we typically spend more time with work colleagues than we do with loved ones, it may be worth sparing a few moments to consider how to maintain or improve our relationships at work.
Whether with staff, colleagues, customers or suppliers, ‘relationship building’ is crucial to career success. Yet, judging by some of the stories that I have heard over the years, it is clear that a few tips may be useful in the workplace. Here are some of the key ones …
Have fun! Take a few moments to share an appropriate joke or a funny story. Often the most difficult of circumstances can be made easier with some light relief. Who are you most drawn to – someone who takes his/her work seriously with some humour and lightness, or who takes it seriously with seriousness?
Get personal! Ask questions about, and show (appropriate) genuine interest in, people’s personal life. Take time to remember (or write down) the name of their partner or children, their hobbies, where they went on holiday etc. One of the most successful networkers I know of frequently asks people, ‘what’s important to you?’ and ‘why is that important to you?’ Most of us are drawn to people who show interest in us, not just in our work.
Don’t blame! All too often, people seek to blame others (sometimes publicly) for problems or mistakes, especially if emotions are running high, rather than looking firstly to resolve any problems and then to deal (in private if appropriate) with any ‘learning points’ rationally later. Whilst it may not be easy to do this in the heat of the moment, we all make mistakes and a little compassion is long remembered. Remember too, it could be you making the next error; people have long memories.
Be polite! As my grandmother used to say, ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ cost nothing and go a long way.