10 Steps to Better Relationships at Work
Nobody wants to be a black sheep in a team. People are social creatures: we need communication, including work, where we spend a significant part of the time. Stretched relationships at work can lead to many problems, like constant stress, emotional overloading, and as a result – a forced change of job. Why can communication with colleagues not work out, and how to fix it? We have compiled a step-by-step guide that might help.
Step 1. Look for the problem in yourself
If you have repeatedly changed the company or several times moved to another department within the same place of work and at the same time experienced communication problems everywhere, then it’s time to finally think about what is wrong with you, why can’t you find a common language with people?
“When analyzing the situation, explanations will surely appear: either you are unsociable in general, you don’t know how to ask questions, or you don’t provide feedback, or you are such a critic that everyone is tired of you, or may be, you’re not professional,” says business coach Matthew Stevens. “There can be many reasons, but until a person starts analyzing what is happening, the state of affairs will not change.”
Step 2. Seek help from an HR specialist, psychologist or colleagues
Often, it is the employee of the company’s HR department, who observes the situation from the outside, can help solve the problem of tensions in the team. If your organization has a psychologist, do not hesitate to ask him this question – this is not a “trivial story”, but it is important to solve it. Your career and condition in general largely depend on this.
You can also talk directly with colleagues. Surely among them, there will be those who will help and tell you what is wrong. You can ask everyone’s opinion individually or gather a round table to communicate in an informal setting: get some biscuits and invite colleagues for a cup of tea.
Step 3. Work on personality traits
After you identify your weaknesses in step two, you can ask your friends and colleagues who you trust: What are my five best character traits? By analyzing their responses, you can build on your strengths and focus on them when building relationships in your team.
“What do you think is necessary to develop more actively – strengths or weaknesses? The right decision would be to work on the strengths,” Matthew Stevens believes.
Step 4. Build a relationship map
Helen Burkett, an HR specialist, recommends this method: Choose between three to five people who will make the most of your performance at work. Make an appointment with them and ask them what they lack from you during your cooperation: feedback, a positive outlook on things, efficiency, involvement, etc.
We recommend holding such meetings at least once a year, even if relations with the team have improved – such sessions help to calibrate internal processes, update work algorithms, and clarify misunderstandings on non-working issues. After such conversations, relations between colleagues become much better.
“During the meetings, many interesting things are revealed,” says Helen Burkett. – For example, one employee thought that he was mistreated by the team because he was not invited to a dinner. It turned out that they didn’t call him, as he was very busy, and colleagues were sure that he would refuse. People often have the wrong view of the situation. And if it is not clarified, it will only get more complicated – hence the mutual grievances, misunderstandings and claims. “
Step 5. Participate in the corporate life of the company
Each person has his perception of the world. It dictates to us what we do, based on our vision of the situation.
“Companies always employ people with different values. For some, this is a job; they care exclusively for their department, their performance, they will not go home until they have done everything that is planned – tells Matthew Stevens. – Others have a family and a home: they continue to solve personal affairs during the working day, they can leave early because of them or take a day off. Conflicts are often brewing between these types of employees. Therefore, many companies develop their personnel service so that the personal values of employees unite the team. “
For these purposes, there are corporate events, where people manage to communicate outside the work situation, understand the motives of each other’s behaviour, see in those who are annoyed with their inconsistency in their views, something that may be close. It is enough to talk with a colleague in an informal setting, and you will find out that he, for example, has a daughter who is the same age as yours, or you both love cycling – you can always find common ground.
Step 6. Be tolerant and loyal to colleagues, accept their mentality
When solving any issue, everyone gives arguments based on their values, dictated by their personal perception of the world. Being able to muffle your subjective opinion and be loyal to the position of others is an invaluable quality for negotiations.
Step 7. Respect your colleagues and stay within their boundaries
Mark Roberts, director of the Business Connection recruiting agency corporation, notes that the most common reason for conflicts and misunderstandings is that a person is not trying to build relationships with others. If you begin to appreciate your colleagues not only as people who work next to you but treat them with respect in general as individuals, they will surely appreciate it.
Step 8. Make a list of good deeds
Any result is made up of small things. “Everything complicated is decomposed into simple things,” explains Mark. “If you need to improve your relationship with a colleague, write a list of 5-10 things to do.”
Let’s say you don’t have a good relationship with your CFO. Here is an example of the simplest checklist for improving the situation:
1) politely greet him/her in the morning, and do not forget to say goodbye in the evening;
2) to make a small non-binding present – a just-released issue of a financial magazine;
3) turn to the manager for advice – everyone likes it when they are perceived as experts.
Step 9. Deal with your expectations
According to the entrepreneur, business coach Freya Jones, often relationships with others do not work out when a person has certain expectations of how he should be treated, but they do not systematically come true, and he is endlessly upset because of this.
It is important to understand that people are different: they do what they think is right. “This issue is directly related to the development of a person’s personality,” says Mark Roberts. “According to a frequently repeated scenario, an undeveloped person finds himself in conflict with those around him, who signals to him that it is time to change.” The more personally developed a person is, the less he has expectations from others: it is easier for him to find common points of contact with different people, to compromise, to resolve conflicts.
Step 10. Study psychotypes
We are all different. And our psychotypes affect our manner of communicating and working – it is important to take this into account.
“For example, a rational person plans everything,” says George T, HR specialist. – And the irrational acts according to the circumstances. There is a difference between logicians who try to structure their activities and ethics and those who do not plan anything(like me). These psychotypes can cooperate OR conflict. The leader should rely on more responsible people, and irrationalists need to set deadlines, and then his rational colleague will be able to influence the other with these anchor points.
Sometimes there are different types of leaders on the same team – emotional and intellectual. But it is quite possible to dissolve them: the powerful one will go forward and lead, and the emotional one will inspire and infect. If you put two emotional or two powerful leaders in one team and for one task, then you will have to divide areas of responsibility between them; otherwise, they will butt. “
Each person has clear dominants. The manager needs to understand the psychotype and strengths, weaknesses of the employee, and what part of the business processes can be trusted to him. For example, a tactician is capable of managing projects, but not people.
Leadership specialist Henry Wickes says that forgiveness or resentment is childish. An adult must understand that a person does the best that he is capable of. And if your colleague is constantly in conflict, does not accept criticism, then his personal development is at a low level. You shouldn’t be offended by him. But if you want your colleagues to respect you and build relationships with you, you need to develop not only as a pro, but also as a person.