Whatever your role, whatever your company, and even if you work for yourself, managing your relationships with other people is key to your success in the professional world.
Whether you are just starting out or moving up the career ladder, your ability to:
- Communicate with others
- To inspire or motivate
- Influence your peers
- Collaborate effectively
- Overcome conflict and challenges
- Ability to motivate others to perform better
All these things will set you apart, both with potential employers, bosses, colleagues, and clients. Relationship management is a core skill; that you can develop, just like any other.
Below we have assembled relationship habits to develop that will help you build better relationships at work, wherever you are in your career.
A bit of give, as well as take.
Most people will agree that reciprocal give, and take is a positive thing. If you are working towards shared goals and objectives, and within a team or teams, in an ideal world you will want to work together to support each other. But be careful to give as well as take from others. Do not make the mistake of only giving in the expectation that you will get something in return. If you do so, you are in danger of other people forming a negative opinion of you and your motives. Be the person that offers to help, support, or guide other people. Build a reputation for collaboration and reliability that will pay back dividends in terms of your relationships with them.
Empathy is all about relating to how other people feel. It is about putting yourself in the shoes of your colleague, client, boss, and reading their inner perspective or feelings about something. Next time you are in a situation where different ideas or standpoints might stand between you and a positive outcome, stop and try to imagine how the other people involved might feel. What is important to them and why? Instead of trying to change minds, give advice or worse, cast blame, stop and do your best to communicate your understanding of their position. From here you are better equipped to work together to find a solution that works for all of you.
Strive to always communicate better.
Communication is absolutely vital in the workplace and good communication skills hinge on listening as much – if not more – than talking. Only respond to others when you are absolutely sure you have understood what they are telling you. If you are not sure about something, ask or repeat back to the other person or people what you think they have said.
Keep your emotions in check – remember it is work not personal. If something does upset you in the workplace, take your time to think it through and really process how you want to respond in order to arrive at the best solution – one that benefits as many as possible.
Even if you do not see eye to eye with everyone, keep in mind that other people have different ideas, perspectives, opinions, and talents than differ from you. Try to maintain respect for others at all times. Remember that when you show your respect for other people in the workplace, they will show their respect for you.
On a practical level, you can do plenty. It sounds obvious, but be polite: say please and thank you. And be positive about other people’s ideas or input. It is amazing how much more you will accomplish by saying things like “that is a great idea, though I have a few reservations or questions,” versus “I do not agree” or “that is not going to work.”
Not only will a positive attitude make it easier for you to relate better to other people, it will also help you deal better with pressure and stress daily. It will enable you to grow in your professional and personal life as well.
Try to avoid focusing on the negatives and resist the urge to complain – instead be constructive and figure out what can be done to improve the situation. Where you can, spend time with people who have a positive, can-do attitude, and prioritize the positive elements of your career and your life.
Being positive does not mean you simply ignore the negative aspects, it is that you actively choose to focus on what is good and doable. And despite any setbacks you keep an upbeat demeanor. Be thankful for the good things and remember to reward yourself when you have done well.