You might not know it, but building good relationships with your co-workers is an important part of having a successful career in any niche.
This can be a healthy situation for businesses because it can help companies create higher performance in the workplace, and most importantly, trust. In addition, very few companies have their employees work 100% independently.
However, flexible working schedules and freelancing are getting increasingly common these days. But that change in the working paradigm is not an excuse to avoid forging good business relationships among partners, whether the workplace is remote or not.
We all know that problems will begin at one point or the other. So, it’s better to really feel on the same boat when times get rough than somewhat disconnected from the work-family or team.
That’s one of the reasons why it becomes crucial to build a long-term relationship with every partner. Each one of them has their own role to play in a company. So, it is super important for everyone to get along – not just for the sake of the work environment, but for the sake of the company and its success, too.
But, how do you build a successful relationship with a person, to begin with?
Here are five ways you should know by now:
1. Be Honest and Communicate:
When you’re building positive relationships with your co-workers, be open and honest about your feelings. The best thing to do is to encourage people to be straightforward with the situations at the workplace. And, to communicate that you want to get to know them better in order to improve your teamwork.
Remember some people see work as just a place to show up, do what they are supposed to do and go home. Or log out.
And that’s ok.
We all know that relationships take work, and some people may not feel like becoming friends all the time with people they work with.
Some people just don’t feel comfortable with mixing personal relationships and working bonds. Or maybe they fear to expose their emotions in the workplace because they come from a more detached culture.
However, on the other hand, others see the work environment as a safe playground to spend half of their waking life and a huge opportunity to build social relationships with others who share the same passion.
These people just don’t care if they get emotional and they’re excellent at striking up a conversation with total strangers.
You need to know how your co-workers feel about the work they do. Do they love their work, are they happy, or is work taking away their happiness?
Pro Tip: Not only honesty is applicable to work relationships but also to friends, marriage and romantic relationships.
2. Be Likeable:
Sometimes being open and honest about building a relationship with your co-workers won’t get you the response you are looking for. However, don’t completely write-off someone who isn’t interested in building a relationship with you.
Even if they don’t want to engage and build a friendly or social relationship, you may end up excluding them or devaluing them, and that ends up creating unhealthy relationships, and possibly, creating problems for the company.
Just be sure to keep them in the communication loop and still offer assistance and support to work-related tasks.
It’s important to respect the differences, even when your expectations about a positive work relationship won’t match reality.
3. Be Observant:
Some people might not know an appropriate way to build a good relationship with a fellow employee. If you’re unsure about inviting a co-worker to grab some dinner after work, or going out for a run over the weekend, why not start small and ask them out to lunch?
You don’t have a whole lot to lose and if you have a good time, it can become a regular thing and help you grow as co-workers, and as people too.
How bad could lunch turn out?
Social relationships strengthen your mental health, make you happier, and help you lower your stress levels.
This process of getting to know co-workers can seem harder if you don’t share a physical working space.
However, there are some thoughts about what you can do to shorten the distance of remote co-working:
- Create a safe space of trust and communication in which you make the other person feel you´ll be there for problems (in spite of different time zones)
- Greet them for birthdays and special holidays. Take into account important dates if they are from another country and remember to greet them those days
- Bad relationships won’t hurt the company less because you’re working remotely. So, do whatever there is in your power to build positive online relationships
4. Find Some Positive Common Ground:
For some people, it can be a little awkward to get to know a complete stranger. However, most of the people who we consider close friends were strangers to us at some point or another.
It’s also possible to make communication a little easier by focusing on an interest you both have in common. Perhaps you’re into health or fitness, you both own dogs, went to the same college, watch the same TV show, or have a children/grandchildren in t-ball.
Any common interest can be a good foundation for positive relationships.
5. Don’t Be Afraid to Aim a Little Higher (or Lower):
Even though it might be easier to build a relationship with a partner who holds the same working status as you, it doesn’t mean you can’t try to build a relationship with a co-worker who outranks you – or even a partner you outrank – in the company.
Mentoring relationships in the workplace benefits both parties and the company gains when more employees are engaged and supporting each other.
Good communication should know no hierarchies when it comes to respect and healthy conflict management.
So, remember the good things about building positive relationships with your co-workers to make your work more easier to handle.
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