Many of us spend half of our waking hours at work, a place that is often filled with stress, coffee, and co-workers. This combination is not ideal when trying to form and maintain positive workplace relationships.
Everyone should attempt to cultivate these relationships because not only will they make work life more satisfying, they could lead to better productivity and success, and maybe even a promotion.
There are five simple yet important things you can try to improve workplace relationships.
1. Be Patient
If something is annoying you such as a colleague or client, take a look at the big picture and try to understand how small this one interaction is in the grand scheme of things. Your aim is to deal with them but get your job done.
If you do get worked up enough to think that the problem needs to be addressed, perhaps wait 24 hours before taking action. This will be a difficult task for impulsive people but will help you approach serious problems with a more balance and calm after taking time to weigh up the situation.
2. Don’t Assume
Good communication in the workplace is crucial and there are many benefits.
We live in an age when we often look at people and immediately form ideas about them. Or we hear what someone says and automatically think we know what it means or why that person said what they said.
But sometimes what we say means different things to different people. If you’re unsure of what something means or why someone said something, just ask.
Taking the time to learn about another person and how they approach these interactions will be worth it in the long run when you develop more understanding and three-dimensional relationships with your co-workers.
3. Take Breaks
Many of us are serious workers dedicated to getting the job done and underestimate the value of time off, but it’s incredibly important to take breaks. They don’t have to be long. You could take a 20-minute lunch break at noon and then a 10-minute break a few hours later to simply rest your brain or chat with co-workers.
Breaks also relax us, often making us more likeable to colleagues due to the time we spend building relationships.
If you are worried about how popular you are take this likeability test to find out how your friends and co-workers might feel about you. If you don’t do very well, then try taking breaks. Those around you will appreciate it and your scores might go up!
4. Set Boundaries
It’s likely your friends with at least a few co-workers, and you might spend time together outside of work.
This is perfectly fine. In fact, it’s a great idea to unwind and strengthen those bonds, but it’s also a good idea to set and maintain some boundaries.
You might not want to talk about your jobs outside of work, so make sure everyone in the group knows this. It’s also wise to stick to work-related topics while you’re actually at work, unless you’re on break. Being too social or familiar at inappropriate times can affect productivity and even your boss’s evaluation of your work.
5. Give More Than You Take
Every relationship involves a give and take. Giving more than you take from others is one of the best ways to maintain positive relationships. You can do this subtly in every conversation.
First of all, be present. Stay focused while you’re listening, and avoid or remove distractions. Really listen with the intent to understand the other person.
Also, don’t interrupt. It’s rude and implies that what you have to say is more important than what they’re saying.
One other thing you can do to give rather than take is be open. It can be scary to reveal things about yourself to people you don’t know very well, but they will recognize this and respect you for opening up.
These interactions will increase loyalty, trust, and comfort in the workplace.
Tomorrow is a new day, so make the change!
Try using one of these tips each day, and in just a week you’ll see lasting improvements in your relationships that will make each day at work just a little bit better.