18 Oct Building better relationships at work: manager and coworker
Building strong relationships in the workplace is key to having a happy and fulfilled career. Given that co-workers spend a lot of time together, forming positive relationships with your manager(s) and co-workers will help you feel more settled, socially engaged and supported in a team capacity. It will also create a vibrant and collaborative team culture, and enable your organisation to perform better.
Workplace relationships can actually make or break an employee’s decision to stay in a job. In fact, SHRM’s 2016 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement Report found that for 77% of people, forming positive relationships with co-workers and managers is the top driver of employee engagement.
When co-workers and their managers don’t have meaningful connections, it’s difficult to create a cohesive culture that makes people feel inspired and motivated. Negative emotions and strained relationships are contagious, meaning they will eventually into the business and affect productivity.
Of course, if you work full-time, spending 40 hours a week with the same people can be intense and draining. By forming positive relationships from the get-go, you can ensure that the working week is more enjoyable and productive. It’s inevitable that conflict will arise, but there are strategies you can use to resolve conflict, support your team and in turn feel supported yourself.
- Listen to others. Most people understand that clear communication and friendly conversation with others is key in building better relationships at work. However, the power of listening to others is often overlooked in relationship-building. Getting to know people is a two-way process: you have to talk and listen, or else the relationship will never grow. Quite the opposite – if you only talk about yourself and never ask someone else questions and listen to their answers, you will push them away. Listening to what your co-worker or manager has to say will ensure they feel that their opinions are respected and valued – and if you listen to them, they will listen to you.
- Be a team player. Strong relationships between co-workers and managers result in a culture of higher performance, lower sick leave, increased productivity, higher retention of staff and overall a higher morale within the workplace.
Being a team player is important for your own individual happiness and wellbeing at work. By being inclusive and collaborative in your thinking and approach, you will also have a positive roll-on effect on your team and potential new recruits. After all, when people talk about a workplace, the first question they ask is: “What’s the team like?” For your own sake as well as theirs, you want the answer to be: “Great, our team get along really well! I really like working here.”
- Join in and suggest team activities. Activities such as strategy workshops, team-building days and social events outside of the office go a long way in strengthening relationships in the workplace. If your co-worker or manager plans something, join in, even if the activity isn’t something you would normally do. Showing enthusiasm for team activities will demonstrate your commitment to your role and a genuine interest in getting to know your co-workers. You can also take initiative and suggest an activity yourself, encouraging your team to share your interests.