9 steps to build stronger professional relationships at work
Building professional working relationships with your colleagues is important because it helps you all to be more productive and satisfied at work. It can also benefit you personally and in the long-term. Many friends met and worked together at some point, and you may be able to accelerate your career with the help of well-connected friends.
The reality though, is that there are many different types of people in every office – from narcissists, to passive-aggressives, gossips and drama queens, control freaks and victims, etc. While it’s natural that we prefer working with people who are similar to us, we don’t have the liberty of choice to simply remove people we don’t like out of our workplace. So, here are a few tips to help you build professional relationships.
9 Steps to Build Stronger Professional Relationships at Work
Remember, everyone is in this together.
Firstly, you have to understand and realize that you’re all working towards a common goal. No matter how different you are, you all have one similarity – to reach that goal. Hence, put aside your differences and work together to help one another to achieve your objectives.
It’s always more enjoyable to work with people you know. For that to happen, you have to build relationships with them. Put in the effort to get to know your team members beyond the project. Arrange for meals or activities together outside of work to spend time bonding.
Respect one another.
People have different areas of expertise. That’s the value of working in a team! To have people who will cover your shortcomings and work together to achieve results you’d never be able to achieve on your own. Respect each other’s strengths and opinions at all times. Ask for inputs and work together. Don’t invite feelings of superiority and inferiority to the team.
Encourage open communication.
The last thing you want is your team to feel like an oppressive environment. Most people just want to be able to express themselves, and be heard in return. Use methods like the feedback sandwich, starting with a compliment, bringing in the feedback, and ending with another compliment. Try to be open minded and communicate openly like matured adults.
Find out how other people like to work.
Different people have different styles of working. The last thing you want to do is to disrupt their process. It not only affects them, but the team’s performance as well. Do what you can to not interrupt other people’s processes, especially if it can be avoided. For instance, if someone would rather be emailed, understand that they may not want to lose their train of thoughts, particularly when they’re in the zone, and do just that.
Accept people who are different from you.
If you haven’t been practising this, it might feel a little tough in the beginning. You can start by acknowledging the people you’ve been avoiding because you feel you can’t connect with them. Make it a point to get to know them better by stepping out of your comfort zone and engaging in conversations with them. This takes a little bit of kindness and understanding, and constant effort, but it goes a long way.
You are, after all, in a workplace. You hold professional relationships with your colleagues. Hence, you have to behave accordingly.
Remain calm and courteous during interactions. Remember to watch your tone while speaking to them. The words you use may not be aggressive, but the tone it’s delivered in plays a huge part. Don’t take things to heart. Sometimes, people might just be having a bad day or in a bad mood, hence they behave a certain way. Don’t ruin your relationship over something that has nothing to do with you.
Be prepared with responses, not reactions.
People tend to repeat patterns and behave predictably. If you can prepare yourself with a response to a certain behaviour, you’ve won half the battle. Play out the situation in your mind or role play it with a friend, and come up with a solution that will resolve the issue in a mature and rational way. Your muscle memory will take over from there.
Choose your battles wisely.
Life is short. Picking fights with people affects you too – your time, your emotions. If you can let it go, let it go. Your work life will be so much enjoyable for you that way.
It Could Best the Best Decision You Make
Building stronger professional relationships at work can impact your job satisfaction and productivity. Remember that there is no one way of doing things. As Friedrich Nietzche says, you have your way, I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist. Your team may have different ways of doing things, but keep in mind that you’re all working towards a common goal. Fix your eyes on the big picture. Challenge yourself to see things from another perspective. It might benefit you more than you think!
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