Humans are naturally social creatures. We crave meaningful friendships and positive interactions with others and positive relationships are actually crucial to our mental and physical well being.
It therefore makes sense that the better our relationships are at work, the happier and more productive we’re going to be. Research also suggests that people who have a good friend at work are seven times more likely to be engaged in their work and satisfied in their jobs!
What do healthy working relationships look like?
Given the huge proportion of time spent at work, it makes sense that work relationships will form a big part of your overall wellbeing. There are several characteristics that make up good, healthy working relationships:
Trust– This is the foundation of every good relationship. If you trust the people you work with, you can be open and honest in your thoughts and actions, and you don’t have to waste time and energy “watching your back.”
Mutual Respect– When you respect the people who you work with, you value their input and ideas, and they value yours. Together you can find solutions based on your combined insight, wisdom and creativity.
Mindfulness– This means taking responsibility for your words and actions. Those who are mindful are careful about what they say or how they word things. They don’t let their own negative emotions impact the people around them.
Welcoming Diversity– People with good relationships not only accept diverse people and opinions, but they welcome them. For instance, when colleagues offer different opinions from yours, consider what they have to say, and factor their insights into your decision-making.
Open Communication– We communicate all day, whether we’re sending emails or meeting face to face. The better and more effectively you communicate with those around you, the richer your relationships will be. All good relationships depend on open, honest communication.
How to make it happen!
- Try to connect with colleagues who are positive and supportive. While you can’t always avoid negative or unsupportive individuals, you can limit the how much time you spend, and the depth of the relationship you develop with them.
- Check your personal baggage at the door. If you had a fight with a family member or you’re worried about your finances, work is not the place to talk extensively about it. Bringing personal issues into the workplace can make people uncomfortable and affect their willingness to build on your relationships.
- Don’t gossip. It may seem entertaining and innocent in the moment, but it’s almost always destructive. If you want others to trust and respect you, don’t participate in gossip. If someone starts gossiping, try to change the subject or politely excuse yourself from the conversation.
- Do your job well. People who don’t do their job well, or who let others pick up the slack, are typically respected less by their colleagues. If you want others to value and respect you, try to go above and beyond what is expected and look for ways to assist others.
- Choose a positive attitude. A positive attitude goes a long way in the workplace. Research shows that moods are contagious, whether positive or negative. To build good relationships, try to limit complaining. People will be more attracted to you if you are positive and upbeat.
- Don’t let conflicts fester. If there’s a conflict brewing with someone, nip it in the bud by taking the initiative to resolve it. Be straightforward and courteous, and always address the issue in private. Be open to hearing the other person’s perspective. Take responsibility for your part in the conflict, and apologise if appropriate.
- Be accepting of differences. The more accepting you are of people being themselves, the more likely they will accept you as you are, and the healthier your relationships will be.
Positive, healthy work relationships can make your job more enjoyable and less stressful. They can go a long way towards enhancing your well being too – both physically and mentally.
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