We spend more times at our jobs than we do with our family and friends. Given the amount of time we invest in a company, people want to see a greater return on their time investment.” Cultivating better work relationships has also become an essential factor in career growth and promotion. If we don’t have positive work relationships it’s harder to build a professional network of resources and advocates that know your value and want you to succeed. So how can we build better work relationships this new year?
Keep it simple.
If you’re just joining a company, you can set up a meet and greet. Set up an informal getting to know you meeting. Get to know them. Ask them about their experience at the company, their expertise and also ask them if they would be okay with you coming to them for questions because you are new.
Practice humility and gratitude.
No one wants to work with a ‘know-it-all’ or someone that thinks they don’t need help. If you act this way you will likely reduce the number of people that want to work with you. It’s important to let them know that you are here to learn from their expertise and to do your best for the team. Always thank individuals that assist with your training and development, especially in the beginning as this increases your probability to have positive working relationships.”
Be an active listener and observer.
Take time to understand the culture and norms before inserting your commentary. Make sure that you are showing respect for the company’s decisions and how they got to where they are today. This respect and curiosity will develop into stronger working relationships.
Be transparent and honest, even when it’s tough.
If you’ve been in the work world for a while, you’ve had your share of good and bad on-the-job relationships. You may need to repair some fractured ties. Acknowledge the challenge or issue that caused the strain and take responsibility. Do not deflect or play the blame game. Own your share of what made the relationship bad. Schedule a private meeting with the individual to have a conversation and apologize. It is never too late to apologize, ever.
Have clear expectations of the work relationships.
For managers looking to improve their company culture or team dynamic, take small steps towards change and don’t set the bar too high for direct reports. Make sure your team understands what you expect of them. The more they have clarity the more confidence they will have in their ability to do what is asked. If you have ambiguous expectations of your team expect that it will be matched with frustration towards you as you’re not giving them clear direction to support their success.”
Engage and encourage.
For leaders in the workplace, give praise and recognition at least every 2 weeks. People want to be seen at work, they want to know that they matter. Praise and recognition are the ways to ensure employees feel their value. The more they know their value, the harder they will work.”
Remember, coworkers and team members are humans.
If strengthening professional bonds is on your 2020 list of resolutions, it’s important to remember that no matter what title a coworker may have, they are just as human as you are. Connect as you would with anyone else. Get to know their interests, dreams, personal lives, hobbies etc. Get to know them. The more you get to know them the more your relationship will grow and strengthen.
Embrace individual differences.
In this day and age, it can be intimidating or even nerve-racking to try to bond with coworkers. After all, knowing what is appropriate according to each colleague, or how actions will be interpreted, can be tricky. As a general rule, practice care and respect for people and see them as individuals, not coworkers. Understand that we have all different backgrounds and experiences which lead us to who we are. Be respectful of those differences.