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Why Relationships Matter at Work

April 6, 2011

Life is all about forming meaningful relationships and that includes relationships at work. The Gallup Organization discovered that having positive relationships with your co-workers was a key indicator of work satisfaction (Grif Alspach, CCN, April 2009). Still not convinced? “51% of employees who strongly agree that their organization encourages close friendships at work… are extremely satisfied with their place of employment.”(Steve Crabtree, Gallup Management Journal, June 2004)

Have you built close friendships with your colleagues? Follow these ideas for fostering positive relationships at work which can increase your job satisfaction.

Rule #1: R-E-S-P-E-C-T


Respect is the cardinal rule for strengthening any relationship (George ManningKent CurtisSteve McMillen, Building Communities: The Human Side of Work). This means both respecting your colleagues and their opinions. Demonstrate your commitment to valuing your co-workers by refraining from placing judgment on people. People feel judged when they are made fun of or when their intelligence is questioned. Show respect for your colleagues by suspending judgment (avoiding the use of unfriendly tones of voice, sarcasm and gestures such as rolling your eyes).

Rule #2: Be an Active Listener


Adopting the traits of an active listener is the first step to improving your communication style. After all, you cannot foster relationships if you cannot communicate effectively. Be an active listener by focusing your attention on the speaker- don’t formulate your responses while they speak, make eye contact and repeat key information to show that you are listening (Conflict Research Consortium, University of Colorado, USA)

Rule #3: Keep your Commitments


Do not earn the reputation of an unreliable colleague by failing to keep your commitments (Clayton Becton, Allen Wysocki, Karl Kepner, and EDIS). Don’t “bite off more than you can chew” and end up making promises that you cannot keep. Think twice about what is being asked and ensure you can deliver before committing.

Rule #4: Be a Team Player


Become a team player by taking the time to support your colleagues. As the famous Attorney Flora Edwards once said “In helping others, we shall help ourselves, for whatever good we give out completes the circle and comes back to us.” In other words, what goes around comes around. Answer any questions that your colleagues ask you. If you are busy, tell them who can immediately offer them support or a time when you will be available to help.


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