Tips for Creating Effective Relationships in the Workplace

In work, as in life, the relationships you form require forethought and nurturing. What is the key to having successful relationships at work? If you have a troubled relationship with someone in the workplace, how do you turn it around?

Keeping in mind that you can only control your own actions, and reactions, the way you behave will either help or hinder a relationship and in turn your career. No matter the training, education or experience you may possess, if you can’t play well with others, you will never successfully accomplish what you need to in the work place. How many times have you encountered someone really personable, enthusiastic, willing to listen and work with you? Those people stick out in your mind and without a doubt, you will seek them out again when you need assistance with a project. On the other end of the spectrum, someone who is challenging, hard to work with, or not a team player is someone that you will inevitably steer clear of.

Here are a few examples of what you can do to ensure you are the type of person people seek out.

  • Bring solutions along with the problems to the table. Some employees only identify problems. Sharing thoughtful solutions when presenting a problem will make you stand out and earn you respect and admiration from coworkers and supervisors.
  • Don’t play the blame game. Placing blame on others will alienate coworkers, supervisors, and reporting staff. There is a difference between determining who is involved in a problem vs. publicly identifying and blaming others for failures.
  • Verbal and nonverbal communication. Talking down to another employee or using sarcasm negatively registers on our radar machines, which are constantly scoping out our environment. Respecting fellow employees is the key to building strong, effective relationships.
  • Never blind-side a coworker, boss, or reporting staff person. Always discuss problems, first, with the people directly involved so they are aware and can participate in the solution. You will never build effective work alliances unless your coworkers trust you.
  • Keep your commitments. If you fail to meet deadlines and commitments, you affect the work of other employees. Always keep commitments, and if you can’t, make sure all affected employees know why you are missing a deadline and when they can expect the information or project you promised. Be realistic when committing to a deadline so that you don’t let coworkers down.
  • Share credit for accomplishments, ideas, and contributions. Take the time, and expend the energy, to thank, reward and recognize specific contributions people make that help you succeed. This is a no-fail approach to building effective work relationships.
  • Help other employees find their greatness. Every employee in your organization has talents, skills, and experience. If you can help fellow employees harness their best abilities, you benefit the organization immeasurably. Compliment, recognize, praise, and notice contributions. You don’t have to be a manager to help create a positive, motivating environment for employees.

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