7 Effective ways to improve your relationships at work
Most of us are focusing on keeping the flame burning in our romantic relationships this month. But, what about our work relationships? With so many people working remotely due to the pandemic, improving your relationships at work has become fundamental now more than ever.
Ineffective relationships at work can affect job satisfaction and have the potential to stunt your career growth. Think about it; you spend more than eight hours interacting with your colleagues, supervisors, and associates. Therefore, it’s imperative that you build strong and meaningful relationships, and one of the most powerful ways to achieve this is through communication.
Below are seven ways to improve and maintain healthy relationships at work through effective communication:
1. Learn to listen to understand, not to respond. Often we keep quiet when someone is speaking, not because we’re listening but because we can’t wait for them to stop talking so we can respond. Being a good communicator means that you listen actively. By listening, your co-workers and employees are able to express their ideas and feedback with confidence and ease. It also increases the level of trust amongst your teammates.
2. Stop relying on emails. There are so many different ways to connect at work. Don’t hesitate to pick up the phone and make a call, use WhatsApp, Teams, or even arrange a face-to-face coffee session every now and then (ensuring all covid health and safety protocols are observed). Physical human interaction is a fundamental part of improving relationships. In addition, when we connect in this manner, we have an opportunity to pick up on nonverbal cues so that we understand our co-workers even better, something that’s hard to achieve when communicating remotely.
3. Never make assumptions. Just like in your romantic relationship, assumptions are dangerous and should be avoided as much as possible. If you’re unsure about something, rather ask questions for clarity than to assume. Asking questions not only helps with productivity but it also prevents time wastage and miscommunication.
4. Be open and honest. One of the common things we appreciate as human beings is honesty. If you make a mistake, which may happen in the workplace, admit to the mistake. This encourages your co-workers to be accountable, and your clients are more likely to welcome honesty than to find out down the line that you were untruthful.
5. Respect goes a long way. Some people tend to look or talk down on others when they get to a certain level at work. Condescending tones, threats, intimidation, and not valuing people’s time are all examples of disrespect. Respect is a two-way street. It nurtures trust and teaches us to tolerate or accept our differences as individuals. Any relationship that is not built on respect will be unfruitful. So, always treat people how you would want to be treated, with respect, irrespective of job title or personal feelings about them.
6. Be empathetic. We’re not always aware of what our colleagues and teammates are going through, especially in these peculiar times. Therefore, demonstrate empathy by showing appreciation, providing support when required, and being considerate of your co-workers’ feelings. Before you say or do something, ask yourself how it will be received; is it positive, constructive, or is it hurtful and inappropriate. A study conducted by the Center for Creative Leadership found that empathy in the workplace is positively related to job performance.
7. Don’t take anything personally. Although you may find people who are intentionally malicious, don’t let it get you. Often when people hurt you, it’s either a reflection of their insecurities or they’re merely straightforward in their approach. Whatever the case may be, don’t take it personally.
Every relationship requires that you put in some work to make it stronger and effective. These tips can help you improve your relationships at work and in your personal life.