Employee engagement plays an influential role in a company’s culture and overall job performance. Gallup Analytics reveals that having close friends in the workplace transform the mentality and makes employees seven times more likely to be engaged in their job. For example, if you see your best friend start exercising three times a week, you are five times more likely to begin exercising as well.

Initially shared by our friends at Mind Tools, join us as we break down the importance of establishing meaningful relationships, what the connections should entail, and how to get started!

The Importance of Good Relationships

When your co-workers are also your friends, you remove the chance of toxicity running rampant in the office. Avoiding this all-too-common complication eliminates the potential of career burnout, high turnover, and obstructed creativity amongst employees. As a result, you cultivate a culture built upon creativity, teamwork, and opportunity through a preexisting measure of respect. Within this connectivity, companies will see an increase in their employee retention rate and notice a significant development in the quality of candidates they attract. 

Building quality relationships at work can take some time, but a strong bond between co-workers plays a tremendous impact on a company’s success and employees’ mental health. Emphasizing healthy work relationships leads to increased job satisfaction and moves you closer to reaching your full potential. With legitimate friendships in the office, you are more comfortable bouncing ideas off each other, challenging each other, and receiving the support necessary to take risks. The more in tune you are in your office relationships, the more your personal relationships will grow. Be wary as not to let the casualness of your friendships overrule the professionalism required during work hours. 

The Structure of Good Relationships

The foundation for healthy workplace relationships is made of several key elements:

Open Communication: Be honest and upfront when discussing job performance, future goals, the progress on those goals, and give praise for a job well done. The more intentional you are in communication, the more effective you will be in the workplace. 

Trust: The basis for any strong relationship is built on trust. When you have faith in your co-workers to keep their promises and put forth the effort, you can know time and energy are not being wasted. Shared trust builds a strong bond between employees and enables a platform for open communication.

Respect: Mutual respect between employees results in your team members feeling valued for their input and opinions and make solutions more attainable through collective wisdom and creativity. 

Mindfulness: Stay cognizant of the impact your words and actions can have on others. Take full responsibility when you mess up; don’t allow your negative emotions to shake up your work environment. 

Inclusion: Stepping outside your comfort zone or taking a new approach to a challenge can prove valuable in your decision-making. Pursue dynamic and diverse perspectives that may be outside your traditional lines of thinking. Hearing these varying opinions can provide great insight to arrive at a solution you were previously closed off to.

How To Build Good Relationships

Patience plays a huge role in cultivating healthy workplace relationships, but there are steps you can take to help expedite the process:

Develop Your People Skills: Having good people skills is essential to get your relationships off to a great start. It is your chance to earn trust through active listening, empathy, and conflict resolution. 

Grow Your Emotional Intelligence: Your EI is your ability to understand and manage your emotions and the emotions of those around you. Improving your EI can go a long way in establishing a strong bond between co-workers.

Be Intentional in Your Relationships: Make an emphasis to interact with your peers by inviting them to lunch/coffee, making yourself available in a time of need, or simply by engaging with them on social media. 

Show Appreciation: Give recognition where recognition is due. Everyone wants to feel valued and praised for their hard work. Being that source of affirmation for others is a great way to quickly develop a bond and earn favor in the eyes of your co-workers. 

Exude Positivity: Through your provided affirmations, expressed gratitude, and ‘glass half full’ outlook on life, you can set the standard for what you what your culture to become. Sharing a consistently positive outlook is contagious in the workplace and will likely draw others to you in the process. 

Avoid Gossip: Talking behind someone’s back is the quickest way to allow toxicity in the office and ruin any progress you’ve made. Rather than avoiding conflict, address the problem directly as not to intensify the issue.

Navigating Through Difficult Relationships

When you encounter a co-worker or manager that you can’t quite mesh with, it can be challenging to maintain consistent energy and passion levels in your job performance. Rather than getting bogged down and overstressed, pursue the individual timidly in hopes of understanding the reasoning behind your differences. From there, take a step back to evaluate and ensure that you are not the root of the problem. If you can make amends to an old conflict, do it now before the cycle of harmful attitudes and behaviors continue.

Focus on what you have in common and show empathy to the aspects of their life where you cannot relate. If you a positive history of working together on a project, reflect on that to re-establish a bond. Not every work relationship will be seamlessly productive and friendly, but extending a little effort can keep them fruitful in and harmony with the culture you’ve built.

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