My point of view has always been, steer clear of getting too personal with workplace relationships. It’s one of those things that you have to be extremely careful with.
Not to be a Debby downer but things could quite literally go left real quick and boom, your livelihood is now being challenged by something that could have been avoided.
A best practice is to get to know your co-workers obviously but for the most part, keep it professional.
Do the whole small talk thing where you discuss your favorite hobbies; provided that your hobbies aren’t anything scandalous.
Share if you have pets, what your favorite holiday is and how many siblings you have. These are all safe topics that will give your co-workers just enough insight to who you are.
Basically, keep your workplace relationships at a LinkedIn level.
The impact of building meaningful workplace relationships.
Think about it – you will communicate with your colleagues for a good chunk of your life. Especially in corporate America where working with a team is highly likely.
Even if your team is distributed and you work remotely, the impact of building those relationships is huge.
Imagine how good or bad your day to day could be based on how much you like or dislike the people you work with.
That’s 8 of your most productive and alert hours of the day; decide wisely on how you want to show up and what your workplace relationships should look like.
I remember working for Darden; literally one of the best work environments I’d ever worked in. We were truly a family in every sense of the word. There were moments where I definitely felt uneasy about some of the personalities I had to interact with; however, I knew that it didn’t matter.
What mattered was the fact that we had to see each other and work together 5 days a week, 8 hours a day so basically, I’d need to get over it or leave.
To positively impact your workplace relationships, prioritize the collective goal of the business and shared responsibilities over your personal feelings.
A direct impact of building meaningful work relationships is your livelihood. A seemingly meaningless workplace relationship now could turn into a substantial opportunity later.
Building trust is the key to success with workplace relationships.
You definitely want to build trust with leadership as well as your teammates. Do this by always doing good work, being helpful to your colleagues and most importantly, not participating in workplace gossip.
You lose credibility when you discuss matters that do not involve you; it comes off sneaky and undermines your integrity.
And never be too standoffish, while you want to avoid oversharing, you definitely need to be proactive with providing input and sharing knowledge with your team.
A great way to build trust is to participate in team building activities.
A few years ago, I had a great experience building bicycles with my teammates and leadership for a Christmas drive to donate to underprivileged children.
Each team was given a bicycle kit and had to work together to build a functional bike. Teams were formed by picking a number, giving everyone a chance to work with someone they otherwise would not have.
This provided an opportunity for everyone, no matter their level of experience in the company or job title to trust each other to complete the task at hand.
Studies have shown that 96% of employees engaged in their work trust leadership, while 54% of disengaged employees do not trust leadership. The same research shows that building trust in the workplace also increases productivity, creativity and energy.
Navigating romantic workplace relationships.
According to Forbes, over 60% of employees say they have experienced romance in the workplace. This is because so much time is spent with your colleagues on your day to day leaving very little time to fit in the task of getting to know someone outside of work.
And maybe there’s nothing wrong with a little flirting here and there; but a full-blown relationship just seems to be a bit much.
The upside to it is that you get to spend a lot of time with the person you care about; which, ironically is also the downside – LOL.
Be sure to inform yourself on company policies on workplace romantic relationships; the last thing you want to do is violate some hidden HR policy on the matter.
Stategies to win over your co-workers.
Open communication and collaboration.
Having an open line of communication with the people you work with creates an inviting atmosphere for your team. It creates better collaboration and more efficiency across the team. Frequent communication gives you and your colleagues a sense of where strengths and weaknesses across the team live. And as a team, this is golden as you’re working through different projects.
Be an active listener.
Active listening is one of the best ways to win over your co-workers. And from my experience, when co-workers come to me with questions, I let them talk it through before providing my opinion, and most times, they end up coming to an answer on their own just by talking it through.
Active listening includes but is not limited to the following:
- Verifying or paraphrasing what you heard
- Ask related questions
- Validate whatever feelings the speaker has; and/or ask questions that could offer a different perspective
- Avoid judgment
Offer help and be reliable
This is the flex of the list, it’s a really good feeling to know that your colleagues trust your skills and know they can rely on you.
Where you see holes and opportunities for improvement, offer help. Offer solutions and always make good on your word.
And yea, sometimes offering help and being the reliable one gets to be overwhelming especially when you have your project to tend to.
However, the long-term benefit could be far more impactful than the temporary stress you feel in the moment.