Your Working Relationships

Over your life you spend a lot more time at work than you do with your family which is why it becomes really important that you enjoy what you do. A job that sucks the life out of your soul is doing nothing for your health and wellbeing. But that does not mean the job has to be rewarding to be enjoyable and that is exactly where this article from Dan Rockwell starts.

Positive Work Relationships

Positive work relationships provide deeper collegial bonds, it supports effective knowledge sharing and relationship based learning.

Worker productivity is directly connected to the productivity of co-workers. A study by Alexandre Mas and Enrico Moretti (2009) looked at peer effects in the workplace and found that when you put a highly productive worker on a team the whole team’s productivity goes up. The more frequent the contact, the more powerful the positive impact.

For many people the social relationships at work significantly impact their satisfaction and overall happiness. When you make friends at work the bonds are deeper and more enjoyable. This is backed up by a study by Patricia M. Sias (2005) which looked at the quality of workplace relationships and the impact that had on the quality and amount of information a worker positively received from their supervisor.

Isolation is not good for your health, Holt-Lunstad et al. (2015) found that actual and perceived isolation makes you sick and potentially shortens your life.

And teams that have stronger ties are more likely to establish an environment where innovation can thrive. Wang, Fang, Qureshi, & Janssen (2015) found that the social network sharing information between colleagues had a positive impact on innovative behaviour.

Maximise Performance

Understanding the individual strengths and weaknesses of individual team members can enable you to predict and enhance their contribution to the team. Individuals have preference in how they think and work, for instance some prefer quick decisions and others prefer exploring options.

When you maximise performance of individuals in the team you work to their strengths and build the team around each individuals contribution. Don’t put introvert’s on the spot, prepare them for what is expected, deep thinkers need time to respond – so make sure they have the space, let the innovators explore ideas and use the extroverts to build the bonding opportunities.

Leaders need to continue to model best performance by building familiarity with individuals use names and reference recent performance and successes. Know team members family names and details – make time to talk about personal interests and weekend activities outside of work.

“Best friend at work” transforms what the workplace represents. It enables us to move forward into the future workplace — from a past workplace desire merely for a job to a future workplace mindset that, “It’s not just my job, it’s my life.”

Dr Mike McDonald, Gallup (2018)

Gallup identify three characteristics of a well-connected team

  1. Trust (confidence in one another’s reliability and dependability)
  2. Teamwork (natural appreciation of one another’s talents and strengths; a shift out of the zero-sum mentality that says when you win, I lose — and vice-versa)
  3. Emotional loyalty (I want to stay later and/or do more because I get to work with my best friend)
Image Credit: Pexels

Joel Garfinkle points out, for a lot of people, relationship building isn’t natural or easy to do. Most refuse to admit this is a concern because it is such a basic, common sense concept. They assume they already know how to do it. Don’t fall into that trap. Everyone – even the most outgoing, engaging personalities – can improve their skills in this critical area. He has 10 practical tips.

  1. Share more of yourself at meetings. Build relationships by letting others know who you are.
  2. Speak positively about the people you work with, especially to your boss. Provide quality feedback about people you work with. That will build trust. Be careful of workplace gossip.
  3. Improve your interpersonal skills by supporting other people’s work. A team attitude gives you a big competitive advantage.
  4. Ask others to become involved in your projects or activities. Ask others for help and bring them onto your projects. The more you participate together, the better you get to know each other.
  5. Write thank you notes. Recognise people who are doing exemplary work, making positive contributions and going above the call of duty.
  6. Initiate conversations by asking questions. Asking questions is a great way for you to listen and let the other person share. Then share something about yourself so the relationship becomes a two-way interaction that can help establish a bond.
  7. Initiate repeated interactions and communications. Don’t just connect once – an important part to building relationships is to continue interacting with the person you have gotten to know.
  8. Participate in activities with others that don’t involve work. Where you find similar social interests.
  9. Share information. It might be directly related to work or more broadly related to career by sharing it you are demonstrating you are investing in the relationship.
  10. Introduce yourself at social work events. Put yourself out there and say hello to people you don’t know.
Synopsis of an article from The Leadership Freak
How To Build Relationships That Maximise Performance At Work
By Dan Rockwell
Published: 21st October 2020

and from Garfinkle Executive Coaching
Building Positive Relationships at Work
By Joel Garfinkle

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