Work relationships can be seen as transient and so maybe different to other types of relationships we may have. You don’t have to LIKE your colleagues but it helps and makes for a more pleasant way to spend your day. What is important to maintaining healthy relationships at work, is how you view your job. If you are only there to pay the bills, your commitment to the ethos of the workplace will be reflected in your performance and may fall short of being a ‘team player’. There are basic strategies in the work place that enhances working relationships not only should one try to live by those strategies on an individual level but also encourage others to adopt them too.
At times like minded people are drawn together and work relationships can develop into personal friendships that last long after one or other has left the job, these people evolve out of the realm of colleague, and domestic affairs may be discussed or even shared. With colleagues there is a ‘line’ between what is shared and what isn’t, being invited to a celebration held at a public venue doesn’t make you a friend, being invited into the home, usually does.
At times personalities clash, substandard work affects others, unfair treatment of staff or basic disrespect causes conflict in the workplace. This should not be ignored. Many people avoid confrontation to their own detriment, affecting health, personal relationships and even work performance. There are times when confrontation definitely is necessary. The trick is HOW and TIMING. There are usually policies in place to assist with dealing with conflict, familiarize yourself with them and in the first instance put them into place, if the situation isn’t resolved, it may be appropriate to have a discussion with the person on a one to one basis, again how this transpires needs to be well thought out as allegations can be made.
If the worse comes to worst, we all have a choice, There are acceptable reasons for quitting your job. When spending on average 48 wks per year in a job where you spend up to 12hrs per day, longer in some professions, it is important o feel secure, valued and respected. The relationships you have with your colleagues is as important as your relationships you have with your friends, just different.
Outlined here are seven strategies to a pleasant work experience. It was originally designed for healthcare practices but I have adapted it to reflect any work environment. Also there are links to other sources regarding dealing with conflict and quitting your job.
Trust. People in trusting relationships seek input from one another (and actually use it), and they allow one another to do their jobs without unnecessary oversight. Individuals who trust one another can also openly discuss successes and failures to learn from them.
Diversity. Diversity can be defined as differences in the way people view the world. Whether it stems from differences in age, race, gender, education or experience, some diversity of thought will occur in any work setting. Diversity broadens the number of potential solutions and enables people to learn from one another.
Mindfulness. In mindful relationships, people are open to new ideas. Avoid operating on autopilot, encourage others to express their ideas without fear of ridicule, criticism or punishment, and look for ways to continually learn and improve.
Interrelatedness. This occurs when people are sensitive to the task at hand and understand how their work affects others. Be continually aware of how each person contributes to the goals of the workplace.
Respect. Respectful interactions are considerate, honest and tactful. People who respect one another value each other’s opinions and willingly explore their own concepts in response to what others say. Respect is especially important in challenging situations, as it can help individuals focus on problem solving.
Varied interaction. Relationships at work can be described as social or task related. Social relationships are personal and often based on activities that exist outside of work; task-related relationships are focused on professional issues.
Effective communication. Communication between individuals can be described as rich or lean. Rich channels, such as face-to-face interaction or telephone conversations, are preferred for messages with potentially unclear meanings or emotional content. Lean channels, such as e-mails or memos, are preferred for more routine messages. For good working relationship, individuals understand that both rich and lean communication channels are necessary, and they know when to use each strategy. (Adapted from http://www.aafp.org/fpm/2006/0100/p47.html)