Relationships are ubiquitous. Mastering the art of relating well with people helps us not only have good marriages, but also good relationships at work. There are very few differences between romantic relationships and work relationships, the main difference being intimacy. Communication, quality time, affirmation & fairness are all required to have good relationships whether at home or at work.
Working with people you have a good relationship with automatically makes work life more pleasurable, even if the job itself may be tedious. Everyone spends an average of at least 160 hours per month working, so it is best to make the working environment as happy as possible. This is best done through fostering good relationships at work.
Communication in the workplace should be comprehensive, honest & more often than not it should be done face to face. Exhaust all that issues that need to be addressed in one conversation. Avoid back to back emails. Emails tend to be used as a means of communication when one is trying to “cover their tracks”, so it already creates a defensive mode and makes the communication less efficient. Discussing an issue face to face also gives both parties an opportunity to voice their opinions and clarify all which may not be clear.
Open communication creates trust between employers and employees. It also enhances productivity and efficiency since less time is spent trying to clarify an issue and instead focus is made on giving the best output. Ineffective communication creates confusion, wastes time and reduces trust.
As an employer, take time to get to know your employees a little bit better. This enables you to identify their strengths and weaknesses, & to review their job description based on your assessment. It will also enable you to pair them with other employees who have different strengths that they can learn from. Take time to also give constructive feedback, while allowing them to voice their opinions.
Furthermore, make time for team buildings & lunches. This will give you an opportunity to get to know more about your employees personal lives. People tend to open up more about other aspects of their lives outside the office environment. You do not have to know all of their children’s birthdays, you just need to have an idea of the kind of person they are. For example, if they are married, if they have children, if they have a hobby or another source of income. Sometimes employees may be battling with something and you might just be that one person who offers them a listening ear and gives them hope. It breaks my heart to read the story about the PwC manager who committed suicide by jumping from the 17th floor of the office building. Might things have been different if he had a good relationship with his colleagues? Might he have been convinced not to jump by his boss who may have noticed he was gloomy and offered him a listening ear? & why did he choose to jump off from the office building? Was he trying to communicate something about his treatment at work?…all these are allegations of course but by the time one is killing themselves at work, I believe the organisation culture and policies may need major adjustments.
As you discover a little bit more about your employees’ or colleagues personal lives, make time to be present for some of their personal events. Attend their weddings, visit their new-born baby, go to their mother’s funeral…show them that you care about their well-being. They will notice your concern and will be more loyal to you.
Recognise employees who have done a good job and give them rewards. Whereas it is important to point out their shortcomings so that they can improve, it is even more important to point out their accomplishments.
Even the most smart and productive people have low days when they might feel like they doubt themselves, & reassurance through a few positive words could go a long way. Positive affirmations grow confidence & inspire great work.
Physical rewards may be in the form of a raise, a promotion, a shopping voucher, or just buy them a beer after work and tell them “you did a great job”. You’ll notice your employees’ motivation levels grow to surprising levels.
Obvious favouritism towards certain employees creates discontent. Yes, we are human and we are likely to prefer some employees to others but being open about this makes employees resentful towards each other. Be fair with rules and never make employees feel much less valued due to favouritism or hierarchy. Eg. allowing your favourite or senior employees to come late to the office yet reprimanding junior employees when they do the exact same thing. Or being quick to criticise the ‘less liked’ employee when they make a mistake while accepting the mistakes of your favourite employees and sweeping them under the rug.
Good relationships with your employees or subordinates require mutual respect, regardless of hierarchy. Let the rules apply in a standard manner across the board.
Not all relationships at work will be great but you can make sure they are at least workable
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