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Building Relationships in the Workplace

Instructor: Allison Tanner
How do you connect with the people you work with and build relationships? This lesson discusses how you can build relationships in the workplace as well as create a more positive work environment for you and your colleagues.

Workplace Relationships

You cower as she walks by and you even hide in the bathroom stall until she has left the room. Everyone knows Negative Nancy, the one person in the office who is never satisfied. Negative Nancy makes everyone's stomachs turn, and the entire work environment suffers because she cannot get along with others.

Relationships in the workplace can affect your everyday happiness. They can also influence whether or not you get a promotion.

Take Ben for example. He came in to the office just a few months ago. Ben immediately got to know the office staff and interacted well with senior management. After just one month he was promoted to a supervisory position, and rumor has it he is on the fast track to becoming a manager for another office.

What is the difference between Ben and Negative Nancy? Ben knows how to build relationships in the workplace, while Negative Nancy destroys relationships in the workplace.

Building Workplace Relationships

It is likely that you will spend at least forty hours a week with your colleagues, and because of this, you want to learn from Ben and build good relationships in the workplace. You may not be a natural, like Ben, but you can take steps that will help you to build better relationships on the job.

People Skills

You noticed that Ben not only says hello to everyone in the office, he calls everyone by name. You are also certain that Ben has never been caught complaining about overtime, or the broken vending machine.

Building good relationships means you need to attach a human component to your colleagues. This means you not only see them individually as the security worker, or the secretary, you see each of them as a person, and someone who deserves respect.

  • Be Happy: First and foremost, don't be a Negative Nancy. Stay positive and keep things focused on what is good, rather than what is bad. This will be very helpful to you when you are trying to build relationships in the workplace.
  • Learn Names: It is important that you get to know the names of your colleagues, supervisor, and senior management. No one enjoys being referred to as 'the blonde girl in pink', or the 'short guy in a blue shirt'. Getting to know the names of everyone you work with, even the security staff and secretaries, will help create a stronger relationship.
  • Actively Listen: When you are speaking with someone stick to the subject. Don't start talking about the broken copy machine while Molly, the secretary, is telling you that the manager will be out for the day. Not listening may show a lack of interest in your job, and can be perceived as disrespectful.
  • Team Spirit: In order to build good relationships in the workplace, it is important that you are able to work in a team. If you only work alone, you may seem selfish, or unable to collaborate. In order to embrace team spirit, you will want to learn how to work in small and large teams. You have to be willing to share your ideas, as well as accept the ideas of others on your team.

Manage Differences

Another key characteristic of Ben's success is his ability to deal with differences. Ben is far from perfect, and he is the first to admit it. Ben is open to constructive criticism and he is also able to give constructive criticism. You also don't know any dirty details about Ben because he doesn't participate in the circle of gossip.

Whether it is a difference in opinion on a major project, or something small, how you handle differences in the workplace will influence how well you develop relationships.

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