A huge part of how you feel about your job involves the people you work with. Positive work relationships will make you look forward to doing what you do. When the workplace contains undercurrents of tension and dissatisfaction, everyone suffers.
The beginning of a new year is a great time to work on building positive, effective relationships with co-workers and administrators. You may not be able to be friends with everyone but there are always steps you can take to strengthen the work relationships you have while forging new ones.
Evaluate and Improve Soft Skills
Building better relationships doesn’t start with your co-workers and managers. It begins inside when you take an objective look at your soft skills.
Hard skills are the ones you trained for. They’re things like your certifications, degrees, second languages and the number of words per minute you type. Soft skills are harder to measure. Here are a few examples:
- Problem solving ability
- Strong work ethic
- Strategic thinking
- Calmness under pressure
- Compassionate listening
You may not have put them on your resume, but they’re crucial to building strong work relationships. Identify your strengths and weaknesses and look for ways to improve.
Steps for Better Communication Skills
No matter where you are on the communication skills spectrum, there’s room for improvement. You have the power to build better relationships when you make your goals specific and measurable.
Speak positively about your co-workers and administrators. It’s not kissing up, it’s being encouraging. Look for three ways to provide positive feedback every work day. Set a reminder on your phone to note whether you met your goal before you go home.
Ask questions. If you know your co-worker has a skill you’re curious about, give them a chance to share how they learned it. When working as a team, pause and ask other members what they think, and listen to what they say.
Express appreciation. Thank at least one person every day for something they do. Be on the lookout for little things that might normally go unnoticed. When presenting teamwork, let others hear you be appreciative for their individual contributions. Share credit when things go right, but when they don’t, avoid the temptation to place blame.
Avoid gossip like the plague. Office politics kill relationships. If you have a problem with someone, speak to them in private. If the situation doesn’t involve you, don’t add fuel to the fire by passing on information.
Improving work relationships takes consistent effort, but it’s worth it. When you make an intentional effort to pour good into the lives of those around you, it creates a ripple effect that will spread throughout your entire organization.