Effective relationships are a precious commodity, but when you need a workplace relationship it is too late to get it. Many people make the mistake of not investing in others at work until they really need to. Perhaps they walk past the receptionist each morning without saying hello and then wonder why they are not keen to help when needed.
Some people are just not wired in a way that helps them to understand that not only are workplace relationships the right thing to do; they are also the smart thing to do. It may be common manners to acknowledge others when they walk in a room and offer to stay back and help a colleague; but some workers missed the memo on office etiquette.
Employees who have strong Emotional Intelligence (EQ) and are natural relationship builders seem to find rallying the troops to stay back and finish a client proposal easy. The truth is, when others invest in you when there is nothing else to gain besides building an effective workplace relationship; it feels right and it becomes mutually enjoyable and beneficial.
Learning the art of building effective workplace relationships is worth the effort as it will undoubtedly assist you in career success. If you have taken the time to recognise the work of others, attend office celebrations and you know the names of your co-workers’ children, there is a strong chance that you will not be short of help when you need it.
Talking to a co worker only to ‘get something done’ is disingenuous and will cause reputational damage. Connecting with colleagues in a genuine manner when there is no personal gain will build trust and respect. The following are some key benefits of positive workplace relationships:
Kindness is always key to strong workplace relationships, but it must come from a genuine place. If you are going to stop and ask someone about their weekend, take the time to look at them and openly listen to the response. Start taking note of who looks under pressure or is having a challenging day and be the first to offer a helping hand.
If you don’t know Sam in accounts, don’t wait until you need a monthly report created before you introduce yourself. You only get one chance to make a good first impression, so step out of your comfort zone and introduce yourself to others within the business. You may want to start with, “Hi there, we haven’t met before so I wanted to come and introduce myself. I’m Alex and I work in marketing. I will be able to help you out with any website queries. Can you tell me a little bit about your role in the business?” This simple statement lets the other employee know who you are and how you may be able to assist them in the future. It then encourages them to do the same.
Relationships are like bank accounts, if you don’t invest in them; you will quickly go into the red. Building and maintaining relationships takes more than a casual smile at the coffee machine. You may not feel comfortable asking anything personal, but why not enquire how their sales presentation went or congratulate them on their valuable contribution at the departmental meeting. Investing regularly in others shows a genuine interest and goes a long way to building strong workplace bonds.
Building a strong workplace relationship comes from demonstrating ongoing honesty and reliability. If you told a colleague you will come in early and help them set up for a presentation, then follow through. Don’t be a person that agrees in public and complains in private. If feedback is required, be honest and deliver it with compassion and integrity.
Nurturing a positive and healthy workplace relationship is about determining if things are going well for both parties, not just on your end. Have the confidence to ask, “is there anything that I can do to make your role easier?”, or “would it help you if my part of the report was finished earlier in the week to give you adequate time?”. These types of questions shows peers that you are interested and aware of your impact and serious about working in a manner that also works for them.
Strong workplace relationships are built on many factors, but they are rarely successful when there is negativity at play. When we face challenges at work, a positive mindset goes a long way to determining the right solution and maintaining effective relationships.
If you are the sort of person that looks for the silver lining, offers support and operates with integrity; others will seek to do the same for you. For some people, relationships at work are an ‘optional extra’ right up until they need to leverage it for help. A workplace relationship doesn’t have to be a last minute thought or something we are forced into. When sought out with genuine intent they pay dividends both personally and professionally.
For assistance with your workplace matters, Members of Ai Group can contact us or call our Workplace Advice Line on 1300 55 66 77 for further information.
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