Building Successful Workplace Relationships

In an ideal world, everyone would work seamlessly with each other. There would be no conflict or misunderstandings, and everything would fall into place effortlessly. Unfortunately, this kind of utopia doesn’t happen on its own. You need to build on workplace relationships right from the beginning so that the team can work efficiently and minimise stress to create a profitable environment all the way around.

Understanding Those Around You

The variations in backgrounds, thought processes, and current situations cause everyone in the team to work and act differently. These differences don’t directly cause conflicts, but the failure to recognise and work with these personalities most certainly does. People can have four main personalities, and if you learn to identify them, you can easily determine the best way to work with everyone in order to create solid relationships.

Analysts mull over every detail of a situation and proceed with the utmost caution. These people take a large amount of time to get something done, but on the bright side, you know they complete work accurately. If you question or doubt this type of person, keep in mind they take offense to it. To analysts, even the smallest thing can be a big deal.

Controlling personalities are driven by focusing on the end result and have very little patience when it comes to dealing with inexperience. They tend to organise everything quickly and just want to get started, get it done, and move on to the next thing. These people like to delegate to others, but can be difficult to work with because of their tendency to be over-controlling and intolerant.

Charismatics often use a humorous and easy-going approach to glide through projects. They are great when it comes to dealing with others, but they often have difficulty seeing a project through to the end. You might find them to be sarcastic and somewhat of a bully.

Harmonisers dislike conflict and work to please everyone. They are not only loyal, but are also the first to support others and make great intermediaries. This personality is adamant when it comes to holding a grudge and can be moody. Overall, however, they prefer to hide in the background.

Listen Rather Than Speak

The second skill needed to foster productive work relationships is listening. You can easily hear people speaking to you all of the time, but genuine in-depth listening requires a conscious effort to do so. Get the other person to weigh in on the situation first. Then, confirm what you have heard before offering your opinion on the situation. This makes the other person feel valued and understood without tainting their opinion.

Speak Positively

As you learn to work with the other person and demonstrate positive communication, you begin to build the basics of a successful work relationship. These traits include establishing yourself as being trustworthy, caring, reliable, and productive.

When thinking and speaking positively, remember that praise and recognition go a long way. If you have something critical to say about a task someone else completed, keep your comments focused on that rather than directly at the person who completed the work. Start off by acknowledging and complimenting the good segments, stating what you disagree with, and finish on a positive note. For example: ‘The way you did this was smart, but do you think we could make this other section work better by doing it this way? Overall, you did a great job.’ Also, keep in mind that little words like ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ do wonders.

Once you understand how everyone in the team works and what their true opinions are, use this to your advantage by incorporating it into your conversation. With a passive personality for example, this might require you to demonstrate faith in their skills and abilities along with encouragement.

Lastly, when conflict starts, deal with it before it grows into a serious issue in order to avoid the resentment and confusion that will inevitably follow. Learning to forgive and forget are also vital components of this skill. Things happen and people make mistakes.

Instead of focusing on what when wrong, focus on the real causes of the conflict and learn from the mistakes made. As much as people want to disagree, one-sided conflicts do not exist. You need to keep one very important rule in mind, however. No matter what happens, be sure to keep the conflict between those involved. Office gossip causes irreparable damage to you and the other people involved that can stay with all of you beyond the current job.

Successful workplace relationships can start naturally, but even if they do, they will require the right skills to grow and maintain. This means you need to use these necessary communication skills at all times in order to work effectively with everyone. By learning to recognise how others think, learning how to deal with them, and communicating positively, you and your team can work together efficiently and flawlessly at the same time.

With 20+ years of experience writing CVs, it still puts a smile on my face when I hear a client has secured an interview Lee Tonge - Founder and Director


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