Relationships exist everywhere in the office. Whether it's between a manager and an intern, two people in the same position or a cross-department partnership, the quality of these connections can greatly affect productivity and output. A great relationship can lead to a project going off without a hitch, as communication flows and everyone does their job. On the other hand, an unhealthy relationship often results in sluggish response times, shoddy work and potential delays. The difference between good and bad connections and interactions can be staggering.
For many people, they experience the whole range of relationships depending on the other person. They may get along well with subordinates and work together effectively to accomplish mission-critical tasks. Conversely, when it comes to reaching out to other departments in the office, those people may not be as receptive – after all, different teams often have unique objectives and working together may not always be convenient for all parties.
The key is understanding that behaviors and interactions that form relationships can be influenced. Influence is based on the outcomes of behaviors – if people see positive interactions, they tend to walk away thinking better of the other individual. All of this happens subconsciously, which can be problematic when some actions have different impacts than the person in question intends. This leads to situations where people are wondering why they have such rocky relationships with coworkers.
Building positive workplace relationships is important for numerous reasons. First and foremost, it makes working a much more pleasant experience. However, it also improves a leader's ability to get work done and influence others to be more productive. Here are a few ways people can build these relationships more successfully:
1. Realize that differences exist
Everyone is different, – what works for some people may not work for others. When employees are trying to improve their relationships with others at the company, it is important to realize these differences and celebrate them. For example, stopping by someone's desk for some small talk may have a positive impact on some people, but for others it is a gesture that may distract them from completing their jobs.
2. Be a good listener
As Training Magazine noted, listening carefully to others is important when trying to build a relationship. This gives people some insight into what kind of behaviors others expect from them and allows employees to better understand each other.
"Listening is a crucial skill in boosting another person's self-esteem, the silent form of flattery that makes people feel supported and valued," Training Magazine contributor Liggy Webb explained. "Listening and understanding what others communicate to us is the most important part of successful interaction and vice-versa."
3. Give and take feedback
The exchange of ideas is the fruit of any successful relationship. Once people trust each other, they will be open to give and receive feedback, which in turn helps to move the relationship forward in a positive way.