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Relationships in The Workplace Why Do They Matter So Much?

By Stephanie Corking

It is our belief that we attract what we want in life, in love and in business, through one thing – relationships.

Why do relationships at work matter so much?

So much emphasis in today’s leadership and management training is on ‘effective communication’. But why? and what do we hope to gain by effectively communicating?

In this article, we will explore how you can use your communications strengths to build positive and lasting relationships at work. We will discover why it’s important and also offer tips and tools that strengthen your relationships with people you may not naturally or immediately get along with.

 

Relationships – What Does It All Mean?

The exposure substitution balance theory of relationships states that everything we attract and everything we want to attract in life is one thing – relationships.

  • We attract through our relationship with ourselves (the law of attraction – we are what we think)
  • We attract through our friends and chosen relationships (connections, referrals, and social networks)
  • We attract through family, colleagues, and other pre-determined relationships (family dynamics and organisational networks)

These relationships affect our lives in every way, but how?

The law of attraction states that ‘like attracts like’. In other words, what we do and how we act tends to attract others who are similar to us. This force also includes our thought processes. What we think about influences our attention, emotions, and behaviours in subtle and important ways. Therefore, if we expose our minds to things we love rather than things we don’t, the law of attraction states that we will attract more of what we love rather than what we don’t.

Humans are hardwired to seek out information and people who agree with us, are like us, and support the way we see the world because these people validate our mere existence. 

Those selective relationships, in turn, attract the experiences, opportunities, and hardships we face in life. 

Work Relationships

 

So what defines a good working relationship?

There are obviously a number of different elements, depending on the person / people involved. We should also consider here not just those in our immediate team, but with others in our professional circle. Customers, suppliers, and key stakeholders are all essential to our success. 

We have highlighted below four key elements that are essential in any good working relationships and some tips on how to develop and build these skills.

 

Trust

“TRUST TAKES YEARS TO BUILD, SECONDS TO BREAK AND FOREVER TO REPAIR”

Trust is the arguably the most important factor when building relationships, both internally and externally. In the workplace this can take time and effort to gain and earn people's trust.

Advice on how to build trust…

  • Do what you say – keep to deadlines, don’t overpromise and under-deliver.
  • Don’t get involved in office gossip. Be mindful of the following quote by Ruth Anne Crouse, “What Peter tells me about Paul tells me more about Peter than it tells me about Paul.” Recognise that your actions will influence how others perceive you.

 

Show You Care (empathy)

Are you a good listener? Most people believe that they are!! And yet, listening skills are harder and harder to maintain in this era of fast-moving business, constant distractions, and ever-shorter attention spans. The result is that most of us are not as good at listening as we may think. Take time to assess your own listening skills and develop your weaknesses.

 

Respect

“Treat people how you would want to be treated”

Ask most people in your workplace what they want most from their managers and colleagues at work, they will likely top their list with the desire for their employer and coworkers to treat them with dignity and respect.

Respect is when you feel admiration and deep regard for an individual. You believe that the person is worthy of your regard and admiration because of the good qualities and capabilities that they bring to your workplace.

Try this to help demonstrate respect…

  • Appreciate the value of diverse opinions

Understand that sometimes conflict will arise due to differences of opinion. Be accountable for your words and actions and respect that we all don’t think and act in the same manner.

 

Honesty

“I RESPECT PEOPLE WHO TELL ME THE TRUTH, NO MATTER HOW HARD IT IS”

Open and honest feedback is key when building relationships at work. Lots of people struggle with giving feedback, often assuming they will upset the other person or saying ‘its easier if I just correct it and do it myself’… sound familiar?

Try this simple model (SAID) to help you give feedback. It works when managing upwards, with peers and when you need to give feedback to your teams…

Stephanie Corking Relationships in the Workplace Table 

So Why do relationships at work matter so much?

Human beings are naturally social creatures – we crave friendship and positive interactions, just as we do food and water.  When we have positive relationships at work this can also give us freedom to focus on opportunities, instead of focusing on the problems bad relationships bring.

By developing and nurturing our working relationships, our day-to-day will simply be more enjoyable!

Positive, happy and motivated staff? -  where do I sign up?!!