What do you love the most about your job? Decent employee benefits, an agreeable salary, a healthy relationship with your superiors, chances for growth, or job satisfaction?
While all these are great, science says that it is actually workplace friendships that contribute most highly to job satisfaction.
It’s not hard to see why. After all, having friendly faces at work not only makes the day-to-day grind a lot more fun, positive work relations facilitate open communication, improve productivity and team work, and help to build trust and acceptance. If you are looking for ways to create meaningful relationships at work, here are a few tips to get going.
Engage In Active Listening
Be it our relationships with colleagues, friends, or family, most of the time we are so absorbed in what we have to say that we forget to actually sit back and listen. There are no one-sided relationships. The best way to show people that you value what they have to say is to actively listen to them every once in a while.
Active listening extends beyond hearing; you have to express encouragement, interest, and acknowledgement through your gestures and body language as well. Ask your colleagues about how their weekend was, how they feel about something, how their kids are doing, or inquire about their personal lives or a problem they are facing at work. Give them an opportunity to open up to you and then show them that you are there for them.
Set Aside Time for Relationships
Friendships don’t happen overnight, especially not professional ones. We are often buried up to our necks in emails, back-to-back meetings, pressing deadlines, and mountains of tasks, leaving no time for colleagues. I have turned down countless lunch invites and coffee machine chats, and tuned out office banter because there was always something important to do. If you don’t make time for your colleagues, forget forging meaningful relationships with them.
Take it upon yourself to spend some quality time with colleagues outside of formal meetings. Go out for lunch and after-work drinks, organize team-building activities and social events, and remember to stop by someone’s workstation on your way to the washroom, take coffee breaks together, greet your co-workers first thing in the morning, and even participate in office jokes.
Help and Ask for Help
What I love about having work friends is someone to lean on when things go south. Excessive workload can lead to conflicts and exasperation in the workplace. Lending a helping hand to those who are having a rough day will create goodwill among your co-workers. If you notice that a coworker feels overwhelmed, why not offer some assistance in your spare time. Be approachable and use this opportunity to establish rapport and trust with your co-workers.
Similarly, don’t hold back in asking for help or seeking assistance when you feel stuck at work. Asking for help or helping others breaks the ice and creates a much friendly and supportive work environment. Collaborative working gives teams the opportunity to nurture a healthy relationship with each other.
Wear Your Best Smile
Walk through the corridors of your workplace with a smile and see how many people will return your dazzling grin. This is because you spread joy as you smile, and happiness is contagious. The people you meet will catch up on your good spirits. Thanks to the reciprocity principle, the person you are smiling at, feels compelled to smile back. This way, you will create good relationships.
Learn To Appreciate Your Co-workers
Appreciation can go a long way towards fostering relations. There are always some employees with whom you struggle to see eye-to-eye, or you may not understand the challenges that people in other teams may be facing. Keep in mind that each department has different goals and difficulties, and the best you can do is to appreciate each employee’s individual role within the organization. Recognizing your colleagues for their contributions makes them feel appreciated and also inspires others to create a culture of support and positive feedback.
If you truly wish to instill trust in your co-workers, learn to keep your commitments. When your co-workers know that they can count on you, it could strengthen your relationship. If you have made commitments or promises, don’t back out on them or simply go off the grid without informing your co-workers.
A big part of becoming a trusted colleague comes down to your reliability. If you are busy, let them know when you can get back to them. Always be realistic when agreeing to work responsibilities or upcoming events so that you don’t end up disappointing your colleagues.