Relationship with your co-workers
How To Develop An Effective Relationship With Your Co-Workers
You can submarine your career and work relationships by the actions you take and the behaviors you exhibit at work. No matter your education, your experience, or your title, if you can’t play well with others, you will never accomplish your work mission
Effective work relationships form the cornerstone for success and satisfaction with your job and your career. How important are effective work relationships? Effective work relationships form the basis for promotion, pay increases, goal accomplishment, and job satisfaction.
A supervisor in a several hundred person company quickly earned a reputation for not playing well with others. He collected data and used the data to find fault, place blame, and make other employees look bad. He enjoyed identifying problems but rarely suggested solutions. He bugged his supervisor weekly for a bigger title and more money so he could tell other employees what to do. When he announced he was job hunting, not a single employee suggested that the company take action to convince him to stay. He had burned his bridges.
These are the top seven ways you can play well with others at work. They form the basis for effective work relationships. These are the actions you want to take to create a positive, empowering, motivational work environment for people.
Bring suggested solutions with the problems to the meeting table. Some employees spend an inordinate amount of time identifying problems. Honestly? That’s the easy part. Thoughtful solutions are the challenge that will earn respect and admiration from coworkers and bosses
Don’t ever play the blame game. You alienate coworkers, supervisors, and reporting staff. Yes, you may need to identify who was involved in a problem. You may even ask the Deming question: what about the work system caused the employee to fail? But, not my fault and publicly identifying and blaming others for failures will earn enemies. These enemies will, in turn, help you to fail. You do need allies at work.
Your verbal and nonverbal communication matters. If you talk down to another employee, use sarcasm, or sound nasty, the other employee hears you. We are all radar machines that constantly scope out our environment.In one organization a high level manager said to me, “I know you don’t think I should scream at my employees. But, sometimes, they make me so mad. When is it appropriate for me to scream at the employees?” Answer? Never, of course, if respect for people is a hallmark of your organization.
Never blind side a coworker, boss, or reporting staff person. If the first time a coworker hears about a problem is in a staff meeting or from an email sent to his supervisor, you have blind sided the coworker. Always discuss problems, first, with the people directly involved who “own” the work system. Also called lynching or ambushing your coworkers, you will never build effective work alliances unless your coworkers trust you. And, without alliances, you never accomplish the most important goals.
Keep your commitments. In an organization, work is interconnected. If you fail to meet deadlines and commitments, you affect the work of other employees. Always keep commitments, and if you can’t, make sure all affected employees know what happened. Provide a new due date and make every possible effort to honor the new deadline.
Share credit for accomplishments, ideas, and contributions. How often do you accomplish a goal or complete a project with no help from others? If you are a manager, how many of the great ideas you promote were contributed by staff members? Take the time, and expend the energy, to thank, reward, recognize and specify contributions of the people who help you succeed. This is a no-fail approach to building effective work relationships.
Help other employees find their greatness. Every employee in your organization has talents, skills, and experience. If you can help fellow employees harness their best abilities, you benefit the organization immeasurably. The growth of individual employees benefits the whole. Compliment, recognize, praise, and notice contributions. You don’t have to be a manager to help create a positive, motivating environment for employees. In this environment, employees do find and contribute their greatness.
If you regularly carry out these seven actions, you will play well with others and develop effective work relationships. Coworkers will value you as a colleague. Bosses will believe you play on the right team. You’ll accomplish your work goals, and you may even experience fun, recognition, and personal motivation. Work can’t get any better than that.
How To Develop An Effective Relationship With Your Boss
These steps will help you develop a positive, ongoing, supportive relationship with your boss – a relationship that serves you well, your manager well, and, as a consequence, your organization well.
The first step in managing up is to develop a positive relationship with your boss. Relationships are based on trust. Do what you say you’ll do. Keep timeline commitments. Never blind side your manager with surprises that you could have predicted or prevented. Keep her informed about your projects and interactions with the rest of the organization.
Tell the boss when you’ve made an error or one of your reporting staff has made a mistake. Cover-ups don’t contribute to an effective relationship. Lies or efforts to mislead always result in further stress for you as you worry about getting “caught” or somehow slipping up in the consistency of your story. Communicate daily or weekly to build the relationship.
Get to know your manager as a person – she is one, after all. She shares the human experience, just as you do, with all of its joys and sorrows.
Recognize that success at work is not all about you; put your boss’s needs at the center of your universe. Identify your boss’s areas of weakness or greatest challenges and ask what you can do to help. What are your boss’s biggest worries; how can your contribution mitigate these concerns? Understand your boss’s goals and priorities. Place emphasis in your work to match her priorities. Think in terms of the overall success of your department and company, not just about your more narrow world at work.
Look for and focus on the “best” parts of your boss; just about every boss has both good points and bad. When you’re negative about your boss, the tendency is to focus on his worst traits and failings. This is neither positive for your work happiness nor your prospects for success in your organization. Instead, compliment your boss on something he does well. Provide positive recognition for contributions to your success. Make your boss feel valued. Isn’t this what you want from him for you?
Your boss is unlikely to change; she can choose to change, but the person who shows up to work every day has taken years and years of effort on her part to create. And, who your boss is has worked for her in the past and reinforced her actions and beliefs. Instead of trying to change your boss, focus instead, on trying to understand your boss’s work style.Identify what she values in an employee. Does she like frequent communication, autonomous employees, requests in writing in advance of meeting, or informal conversation as you pass in the hallway. Your boss’s preferences are important and the better you understand them, the better you will work with her.
Learning how to read your boss’s moods and reactions is also a helpful approach to communicate more effectively with him. There are times when you don’t want to introduce new ideas; if he is preoccupied with making this month’s numbers, your idea for a six month improvement may not be timely. Problems at home or a relative in failing health affect each of your workplace behaviors and openness to an improvement discussion. Additionally, if your boss regularly reacts in the same way to similar ideas, explore what he fundamentally likes or dislikes about your proposals.
Learn from your boss. Although some days it may not feel like it, your boss has much to teach you. Appreciate that she was promoted because your organization found aspects of her work, actions, and/or management style worthwhile. Promotions are usually the result of effective work and successful contributions. So, ask questions to learn and listen more than you speak to develop an effective relationship with your boss.
Ask your boss for feedback. Let the boss play the role of coach and mentor. Remember that your boss can’t read your mind. Enable him to offer you recognition for your excellent performance. Make sure he knows what you have accomplished. Create a space in your conversation for him to praise and thank you.
Value your boss’s time. Try to schedule, at least, a weekly meeting during which you are prepared with a list of what you need and your questions. This allows him to accomplish work without regular interruption.
Tie your work, your requests, and your project direction to your boss’s and the company’s overarching goals. When making proposals to your boss, try to see the larger picture. There are many reasons why your suggestion may not be adopted: resources, time, goals, and vision. Maintain strict confidentiality.
In your relationship with your boss you will sometimes disagree and occasionally experience an emotional reaction. Don’t hold grudges. Don’t make threats about leaving. Disagreement is fine; discord is not. Get over it. You need to come to terms with the fact that your boss has more authority and power than you do. You are unlikely to always get your way.
Employee Relations Strategic Plan
- your definition of “employee relations”
- what kind of industry you’re in
- how many employees your company has
- whether or not you have a union
- if not, how big is the threat of unionization
- what your turnover rate is
- what your pay rates and benefits plans are compared to competing (not just competing for your products but also competing for your employees) industries in your region
- how big your HR department is
- what your reasons are for deciding you need a strategic employee relations plan
- and probably a whole lot more stuff but this would be a start anyway.
What Are Micro Inequities?
The veiled putdown, the sarcastic tone, as well as nonverbal transgressions such as rolling the eyes and turning your back toward someone in conversation — may seem like piddling things to fret about. Small slights can generate big problems.
Employees might be willing to blow off one or even a few such rude gestures. But if a boss, manager or project teammate habitually treats colleagues disrespectfully, they will feel demoralized. Perhaps that will lead to attitude problems and increased absenteeism.
Say a supervisor asks for suggestions on a project. An employee perks up with a thoughtful solution. As if tone-deaf, the supervisor then asks, “Okay, who’d like to get things started here?” Or, the supervisor embraces the idea but only after someone else mentions it. Next time the supervisor asks for recommendations, the unappreciated employee remains tight-lipped. Maybe co-workers also button up. Result: Valuable ideas never get aired, and productivity suffers.
A worst-case scenario, the disrespected employees leave. And in a worst-worst-case scenario, they may end up suing you for these unwelcome gestures. At least that’s what is starting to occur, according to one San Francisco law firm that defends management in conflicts with employees. In today’s ultra-competitive business climate, your small enterprise can’t afford to lose valuable workers. That’s especially true with an expected major labour shortage on the horizon. Who knows, the offended employees might have been your company’s next rainmakers.
So How Do You Stop These Micro Inequities?
First, understand what they are. That’s easier said than done, because many such offenses are committed subconsciously. A boss might not even be aware he is botching the pronunciation on a colleague’s name. Or that he is glancing at his watch during an employee’s presentation.
According to experts, we’re sending dozens of powerful micromessages every time we speak, gesture or even do nothing. Those communications may vary somewhat from culture to culture and even organization to organization. But the point is, we’re sending a message even when we don’t think we’re sending a message. A number of organizations are playing closer attention to this workplace behaviour. They are paying for training sessions attended by their managers and rank and file. Short of taking training exercises, small companies can take several actions to prevent microinequities. Supervisors might bring up the topic at staff meetings to demonstrate their awareness. Or, the subject might be broached in company emails, newsletters or attitude surveys.
Going forward, pay closer attention to all your employees, not just your stars or those you are most comfortable with. Consider engaging in nonbusiness conversations so you can develop rapport, respect and trust. Solicit suggestions from them. Maybe ask what they are working on and then pose follow-up questions. And, very important: Give direct eye contact and listen attentively to them.
In group settings, Young suggests, be sensitive to how you greet or treat a colleague you’re close with, so it appears you’re not playing favorites. When possible, give public credit to “owners” of good ideas. And encourage participation — from everyone