No man (or woman) is an island at work. The core truth is that our success depends on others. Whether we get promoted, get raises and succeed in general is often down to how easy we are to work with.
A lot of ink has been spilled about good ways to relate to coworkers, but much of it tends to be complicated. Luckily, we chanced on some easy-to-digest “action cards” based on the upcoming book Get Better: 15 Proven Practices to Build Effective Relationships at Work by Todd Davis, Chief People Officer at FranklinCovey. He gives detailed advice on 15 ways to keep a positive attitude and good relationships in the office ahead of its release date. These are called “Get Better Practices.”
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So let’s take a page out of the upcoming book — hitting stands on November 7— and explore ways to improve your connections with colleagues.
Practice One: “Wear Glasses That Work”
This means to see people and circumstances clearly.
Some of the advice includes writing down why a connection with someone or a circumstance isn’t effective, figuring out which of those reasons are based on opinions or factual information, and more, eventually going against and modifying a minimum of one thing you believe.
Practice Two: “Carry Your Own Weather”
Don’t let others dictate how you feel.
This card says to think of someone who “triggers your reactivity” and the next time they get to you, letting them know you need time to think before answering, or writing to them in an email that won’t ever reach their inbox, then re-examining it after leaving it there for a night to gauge your emotions, among other things.
Practice Three: “Behave Your Way to Credibility”
This should be applied if you’ve found yourself trying “to talk your way out of” an issue you got into because of your behavior, or in a circumstance when your integrity is doubted.
This card recommends identifying someone whose trust you need, picking two to three things they value in someone and more, but ultimately working on the areas they like that you need to improve upon.
Practice Four: “Play Your Roles Well”
This should be applied if you’re wearing too many hats, and one area of your life has been lacking when you’re doing well in another.
Advice on this card includes picking out five to seven hats you wear (i.e., manager, parent, etc.), choosing one person you have a big impact on while in that space, and committing to doing one thing this week to begin seeing the change you want, among other advice.
Practice Five: “See the Tree, Not Just the Seedling”
Think of people’s potential, and don’t make quick assumptions about them.
This card suggests picking out two to three people who give you trouble imagining their capabilities, reflecting on what you think of them and what they offer, things they are talented at, and to think of what you’d be willing to think differently about them.
It says to help them by hearing them out and cheering them on more, among other advice.
Practice Six: “Avoid the Pinball Syndrome”
People going through this cram so many pressing things into each day that they struggle to get done what’s really important to them. This card suggests labeling everything you took part in last week into “important” or “urgent” groups, (or both), picking out two to three less urgent activities that you can put off or get rid of altogether and more.
The end goal is to schedule time to prioritize crucial things in the coming week.
Practice Seven: Think We, Not Me
This card should be applied if you’re jealous of those who are doing well (called “the victor”) or you act like “the martyr,” where people walk all over you.
This application process on this card includes selecting two connections with people that you want to strengthen, figuring out if each one has an equal amount of “courage and consideration,” and taking specific steps to work on each area that’s lacking.
The goal is to display a lot of both in each relationship with people.
Practice Eight: “Take Stock of Your Emotional Bank Accounts”
This should be applied if you’re coming up on empty.
This card says to pick a significant connection with someone, choose three ways you’ve decreased their trust so you don’t engage in them again by accident, and more. You ultimately want to tell them how you plan to earn back their trust and hear what they think.
Practice Nine: “Examine Your Real Motives”
Much of the time, we may do things without thinking about them too closely, which means we’re not lining up our actions with our characters and sense of integrity. Figure out what really drives you, and if your motives match up with your values.
This card says to think about how you want “a high-stakes situation” to play out, question yourself on why you want that a minimum of five times to figure out what your real motives are, ask a series of questions and figure out which motives match up most to your most strongly held values so you can “act on them” from that point on.
Practice Ten: “Talk Less, Listen More”
Hear people out instead of injecting yourself into the dialogue so often.
This card recommends picking someone who’d be better off if you lent them an ear, having a conversation with them with the goal of comprehending what they say (instead of responding), telling them what they said, and more.
Practice Eleven: “Get Your Volume Right”
This should be applied if something you pride yourself on backfires because you depend on it too much.
This card says to pick your three best “strengths,” say how others perceive your actions while using it, and more, of each. Then get together with someone who has witnessed these actions, and have them tell you what happened and the result.
Then pick another, more appropriate strength that could’ve worked better that time and/or identify how to lessen the impact of the first one going forward.
Practice Twelve: “Extend Trust”
This one is pretty self-explanatory.
The card suggests choosing a circumstance when you need to do so, then say what responsibility you’re giving them, then detailing everything that could happen and the “risk level” and more.
Practice Thirteen: “Make it Safe to Tell the Truth”
This card confirms that psychological safety is important.
It says to pick a role with significance in your life (work-related or not), then to choose someone you have an impact on while wearing that hat, then to ask them specific questions about how your relationship is working out while writing down what they say without talking, and more.
Practice Fourteen: “Align Inputs With Outputs”
This should be applied if you don’t often get what you strive for, or if you don’t know where the source of your success comes from.
It says to choose an outcome you want in a significant relationship (a result that isn’t happening), then to say what the current nature of the connection is, to reflect on what you’re putting into something by yourself or with a good friend, by asking specific questions, switching to better “input,” and more.
Practice Fifteen: “Start With Humility”
This card says to pick a connection (work-related or not) that needs to be improved, then to list one issue you’re facing in the relationship, then to select one of the 14 other Get Better Practices and say how you’ll put it into practice there, then to reflect on how it went in writing, then to pick another practice to implement once you master the previous one.
This article was first published on August 31, 2017.