There are plenty of benefits to having good and healthy relationships with the people you work with. For one, it will make your professional life so much more pleasant and bearable, if not enriching. It will help reduce the stress you feel at your job and help improve your psychological and physiological health.
Whether you’re starting a new job or you’ve been at your current one for many years now, it’s never too late to start building healthy and lasting relationships with your workmates. Here are some tips for doing that.
They don’t have to be your best friends.
Sometimes we think that building a good relationship with the people we work with means they have to be our best friend or family. That’s not always the case. In fact, what we need is to have good boundaries with each other to build a professional and healthy working relationship. While close, intimate, and trusting friendship is good, it’s not a requirement. Build a relationship with your workmates with good and healthy boundaries in mind, and it will help manage expectations on both sides.
Practice speaking positively of others.
Every time you provide feedback or criticism, make sure it’s always coming from a place of concern and wanting the organization to do better. What breaks down work relationships is gossip and misunderstanding, so it’s extremely beneficial for you to build a reputation as someone who never speaks ill of anyone and always brings up concerns and issues in good faith. Building up this image will cause people to trust you more and not think of you as the enemy.
If you must vent, do it with your family and friends outside of work. Workplace confrontations don’t always end well, and conflicts are either small enough that you can choose to walk away from them or big enough to need addressing. If it’s the former, it’s OK to let it go. If it’s the latter, make sure to go through the proper channels, like human resources (HR). Choosing which battles are worth fighting is key to building any good relationship.
Support other people’s work.
It may seem like an added task on top of an already busy workload, but expressing support, no matter how it looks, will always help you build a good rapport with your fellow employees. When you see someone doing well, don’t hesitate to commend them verbally or leave notes of appreciation or gratitude for them. Being supportive of others also means being a good team player and doing your part well because they will see you as reliable and someone they can trust to help carry the load.
Build up your emotional intelligence.
Many work relationships break down because one side or both sides have a very low emotional quotient or don’t know how to place themselves in the other person’s shoes. We get so lost in our own world that we take everything personally—like everything is a slight or an offense.
While we should never tolerate an abusive or toxic work environment, there’s a difference between toxicity and tough times. Building up your emotional intelligence (EI) will protect you, as it will help you stay attuned to your emotions and needs; it will tell you when you need to set boundaries, fix a problem, or walk away. It will also help you gain empathy for others in your workplace. Be cognizant of what triggers you at work, and find ways to cope with it as productively and healthily as you can.
Be honest about your needs.
We live in difficult times, and it’s hard to focus on work sometimes. How do we boost our motivation and productivity when we have so many things to be anxious about? If you have an HR department in your workplace, consider going to them about the reality of your challenges and be honest with them about what you need to feel supported.
Often, HR specialists have tools like employee motivation assessments to help employees discover their blind spots and thrive even in high-pressure environments. We’re living through a global crisis, and bosses know that—so don’t hesitate to be honest with them when you’re struggling so that you can get the help that you need.
One of the best ways to thrive at work is by having a good working relationship with your workmates. Do your part and see just how pleasant and convenient life can be with healthy relationships in your corner. This way, you can look forward to working because of the people who surround you.