Professional & Staff Development Article by Ty Howard
Copyright © 2010 by Ty Howard. All rights reserved.
12 Quick Strategies to Build and Maintain
Healthy Relationships at Work
Healthy work relationships are a must for any business to thrive and succeed in today’s economy. If employees are unhappy with their current work duties or teams, your customers and overall organizational productivity will definitely be impacted by the tension. To keep employee morale and performance moving toward optimal success, you should learn and practice the following twelve strategies that build and maintain healthy relationships at work:
1.) Develop a Positive Attitude.
Avoid sharing negative thoughts, actions, criticisms, and sarcastic snipes. Be less judgmental and accepting of others. A positive attitude is contagious and inspiring to work alongside. Make it your new daily habit to bring a positive attitude to work.
2.) Accept Personal and Cultural Differences.
It is counterproductive to expect and hope for everyone to be like and think like you. Do not place on or address co-workers with assumed cultural biases or stereotypes. When you and a co-worker don’t see eye-to-eye, try looking at things from his or her perspective. You will both be more productive if you recognize the need for cooperation to reach the set goals of the team and organization.
3.) Give Respect to Earn Respect.
Regardless of the situation, try not to lash out or be rude. Be respectful by paying attention, showing interest, listening carefully, and responding appropriately. Be open and honest about your feelings and allow others to do the same, in an amicable and professional way. Remember, respect starts with you and impacts others.
4.) Share Opportunities and Recognition Willingly with Co-Workers.
Avoid being a spotlight and recognition hog. Never take credit for work or projects you did not do. If you want to be liked by members of your team, try recommending them for opportunities and recognition first. Share the spotlight and recognition with co-workers and you will find yourself improving the trust and appreciation level amongst the entire team.
5.) Avoid Gossiping.
Gossip is one of the top destroyers of healthy work relationships. Do not snoop into or tell another co-worker’s business or private life. If someone tries to invite you into a gossiping party, refuse to take the invitation. Keep away from both the rumor mill and gossiping trap inside your workplace, and you will enjoy the benefit of being looked at as a positive team player.
6.) Resolve Conflicts Early.
When a negative situation arises, do not let it continue to boil. Be prompt, direct, honest and courteous. Develop a plan of action to address the problem professionally with your co-worker. Then work together toward resolving it positively before having to bring it to your manager.
7.) Accentuate the Positives.
Do not jump at every opportunity possible to expose the negativity or incompetency of another co-worker. Be less of a watchdog or a tattletale. Instead, catch co-workers doing good work and tell that to as many people as you can across the organization. Become an Ambassador of Accentuating the Positives.
8.) Set Boundaries.
Avoid developing friendships at work that are too personal and that will sooner or later begin to interfere with your work. Maintain a professional behavior and not a bar or club scene behavior while at work. Developing healthy and professional relationships at work is always a plus. Focus on your priorities at work, and make it your commitment to not end up on the company’s “Wall of Shame” because you crossed the set professional boundaries.
9.) Listen Attentively.
When a co-worker comes into your work area, never be rude to them by not turning around so he or she can talk to your face instead of your back. Do not doddle, send text messages, take calls or answer emails when you’re supposed to be listening attentively. The most effective way to listen to anyone is with both your ears and your eyes. This will allow you to respond appropriately and avoid misunderstandings.
10.) Communicate Effectively and Professionally.
Never refuse to communicate openly and professionally with your co-workers. Do not purposely hold information on how you did something or give partial information with the negative hope that you’ll delay or trip up a teammate on a task or project. Take the time to learn how co-workers on your team prefer to be communicated and interacted with. Make the continuous improvement of your effective communication skills an annual goal for yourself.
11.) Deliver Customer Service with a Smile.
A definitely recipe for poor customer service is frowning, arguing, complaining, being spiteful, and a negative attitude. When you’re unfriendly, rude, sarcastic and mean-spirited at work, you set the team back from achieving service excellence and delivering quality customer service. Common courtesy and professionalism costs you nothing. A sincere smile can be felt through a phone. Become the example and not the excuse within your organization when it comes to delivering quality customer service with a smile.
12.) Do and Complete Your Work.
Being surrounded by clutter, disorganization, and failing to make the expected workload contributions towards the team’s goals reveals your unprofessional and slacker habits. If you find yourself continuously hesitating to take on new projects or are exceptionally skilled at finding someone who can do a task “better than you”, you are definitely a master at avoiding work. The more work you offload, the more pressure you put on others. While this doesn’t entail saying “Yes” to every task, showing your willingness to do and complete your work reflects positively on you and your work ethic. It may well encourage others to want to work with you, and recommend you for recognition or promotion in the future.
Happy employees are productive employees. All-hands meetings and one-on-one pep-talks alone will not improve toxic work relationships if your employees become frustrated, unhappy, depressed, and feel that they are just plain “workers.” Consider building and maintaining healthy work relationships a very important investment in your company, because it is. By practicing – daily – the above twelve strategies that build and maintain healthy work relationships, you will build stronger work teams, effective lines of communications, higher levels of productivity, award-winning customer service satisfaction experiences, and improved levels of employee morale.
About the Author: Ty Howard is an internationally recognized authority on organizational and managerial practices that optimize employee performance and success. He is the creator and lead facilitator of the trademarked Untie the Knots® Optimal Performance Process, and the author of Untie the Knots®: Improving Habits, Choices, People, Relationships, Performance and Results, as well as dozens of published articles on employee and organizational performance and development worldwide.
For information on his programs and services, visit: http://www.tyhoward.com.
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