Writer Annie Dillard once said that an average person spends 90,000 hours of of his lifetime at work, for work or in the workplace. This is about a third of a person’s life, give or take.
With that tremendous amount of time spent on a singular aspect of life, wouldn’t you think that it is highly imperative to build good relationships at work?
After all, no human is ever capable of living a life devoid of functional human relationships. Even the most introverted person needs at least a friend or two in the space that he or she is living in.
With that, we’d like to enumerate the whys and hows of building good work relationships. As you scan through each, feel free to take it as an introspective journey towards personal and professional development.
Well, other than the primal reason stated earlier about spending about 30% of your lifespan to your work and career, there are a few more reasons worth noting.
For one, good work relationships should not only viewed as beneficial on the part of the employee, but the institution equally. As an employee, you are an important cog that enables the well-oiled machine of a company to run as precise and as efficient as possible.
Having toxic work relationships are not only detrimental to the individuals involve. It has a greater negative impact in the collective. A toxic work environment prevents communication from flowing, ideas from getting cultivated, and strategies to be executed.
Also, good work relationships create an environment of healthy and productive competition. Seeing teamwork in others can inspire a team or collective to get together and create an innovative output as well. Healthy competition, when nurtured properly, can create wonders for a company.
Going back to the individual benefit, having good working relationships impact our morale at work, how much we are satisfied with our job, our adaptability to learning new skills or utilizing existing ones, and of course the overall quality of our life.
Now that we know the whys, let’s now dissect the hows of building better working relationships. The bonus is that these tips can also be applied to non-work or professional relationships.
Developing your people skills is inseparable in working well with people. Having a collaborative mindset and willingness to prevent and resolve conflicts is a definite must. One cannot genuinely function if that person is always isolated and doesn’t make an effort to interact with people.
In the scientific method, the first approach is identifying the need that has to be addressed. The same goes with work relationships. In order to make professional relationships work, you have to be able to identify the need because every relationship has differing needs that need to be met at
different levels using different approaches.
Time is also a valuable element in successfully cultivating work relationships. You really have to set apart time specifically – but in an organic way – to build and grow work relationships. Go to your co-workers desk and discuss something in person instead of sending a work chat or email. It takes less time to do so than to have to compose a proper sounding email, and it helps develop interpersonal relationships in the workplace.
Don’t be stingy with showing your appreciation. Giving a genuine compliment every now and then does wonders for a supervisor or workmate. How do you feel when you receive a compliment or appreciation for a job well done? Having that positive and appreciative environment grows relationships and increases the ease in doing business or work together.
Know your limits and respect people’s boundaries. Because they spend so much time together, some employees make the mistake of crossing lines lant being to personal or providing or asking too much information that might make their co-worker feel awkward or uncomfortable. This ties well with the advice about time. The longer time you spend with a co-worker, the more you get to know him or her and what they like and are comfortable with.
Be a good listener. Such a simple advise. But in an environment that is set to be fast-paced and could brew a lot of tension and stress, having someone to talk to us a great motivator and pacifier.
Having good work relationships helps get things done. There are absolutely no downsides to building good, healthy relationships at work. If more companies focus on this rather, we would be seeing a lot more successful businesses and happier employees.