Building relationships at work is one of the most important elements of succeeding at a workplace. I’m not talking about building relationships where you have drinking buddies. I’m talking about building cooperative relationships where both people have a mutual respect for one another and support each other in times of need. There are many benefits to having strong relationships at work. One of the biggest benefits is you no longer will have to watch what you say. If there’s a relationship built on mutual trust and respect, then there’s no worry about saying the wrong thing because the other person will understand where you’re coming from. The other benefit is you can support each other in getting the work done or if you’re in different departments, serve as resources.
Luckily, I was able to have a lot of practice in building relationships while working as a professional fundraiser. Fundraising is all about your ability to interact with others and your ability to be likeable. In this blog post and the next, I will outline the things I’ve learned for building strong relationships.
1. Ask people about themselves: Everyone likes to talk about themselves. I know I love to talk about myself. In all seriousness, people enjoy telling others what’s going on in their lives. Ask people about their day or what they’re doing in the upcoming weekend. Pay attention if they’ve got something big going on and afterwards ask them how the event went. I once had a boss that was really good at this. Every time after we’d get done with a tough discussion related to work, he’d always ask me about something light that was going on in my life. For example, “What are you and your husband doing this weekend?” Or “What are Baxter’s (my dog’s) plans for the weekend?” It was interesting how my mood would instantly change to calm and happy when I’d be explaining what my dog was doing that weekend.
2. Always have a positive demeanor: Even though sometimes you might not be feeling that positive, it’s always a good idea to put on a smile and move on with your day. Nobody likes to be around a grump, so smile, greet people, and generally have a positive attitude when you’re relating with others. Being consistent with your mood is important. People like interacting with people they can predict. If you’re in a different mood every day people will find you to be unapproachable. Especially at work.
3. Be reliable: Being reliable at work is one of the most important things you can do. Being reliable means that you always get your work done on time, be consistent about your arrival and departure times, and always do what you say you will. It can be something as simple as saying you’re going to clean your desk the next day and following through on the task. Most people don’t like surprises and like to know what to expect. Being a person of your word is key in building quality relationships at work.
The next blog post will provide additional information in building relationships. In the meantime, feel free to leave a comment on tactics you’ve learned for developing relationships at work.