Human interactions are a complex thing.
We like to say that “relationships are the building blocks of life” yet most people never learn how to listen to and acknowledge their co-workers. We tend to cause unnecessary conflict despite knowing how to resolve the issues in the workplace.
Worst of all, we blame circumstances that are completely under our control like time, stress, and personality as a way to mask uncomfortable feelings or confrontations.
For every relationship you begin in life, there are two options
Either you make an effort to grow and sustain that relationship no matter the cost or you let it stagnate and die.
Building relationships in the office can be frustrating, time-consuming, and unpredictable. Especially as we continue adapting to remote settings, your office relationships will need to work through digital channels.
But you have to realize that they are an investment in your life. And the reality is that nothing will change unless you do.
With everything going on in 2020, I have taken a step back to reflect on where my office relationships stand. Through this process, I found five questions that helped me change my mind about how to maintain and improve the interactions I have with the people I see everyday.
What about this relationship makes you happy?
It could be humor.
It could be knowledge.
It could be shared values, work ethic, and personality.
Satisfying office relationships that lead to happiness not only enhance your quality of life but make every moment at work more enjoyable. They can improve mental and physical wellbeing, promote creativity, and give you purpose.
The key is sustainability. You want to strive for common ground that will last. Every relationship has ups and downs, but to survive, it needs an area of stability that can weather the storm. We tend to think about work and life is separate entities. But we spend so much time with our co-workers that it can be healthy to think about how these relationships improve our lives.
Do you care about their opinion?
For some strange reason, we tend to seek the approval of others more than our own opinions. So it’s important to keep opinions around that you value.
No one at work will understand every decision you make.
But there is a time and place where feedback is appreciated and even requested. Know whose opinion you trust. Know who has your back when its 4:50 pm on a Friday deadline. This doesn’t mean ignoring people who have different opinions (that’s a good thing).
If you don’t value someone’s opinion, chances are you will have problems working together.
Are your conversations one-sided?
Everyone wants to feel heard. It’s a fundamental component of human nature that gets overlooked and results in resentment. When you start a conversation with someone, is it an actual conversation or a one-sided rant? We all know people who genuinely care about what you have to say. They look you in the eyes when you speak, ask thoughtful questions, and actually retain the things that you share.
Then there are people who need to be heard without reciprocating the action. They take control of every conversation and make it nearly impossible for you to get a word in. Honestly, those are the relationships that fade away over time.
Keep this concept in mind next time you talk to someone. Healthy office relationships are a two-way street.
Do they make you a better person?
When I think about the individuals I interact with most on a day to day basis, they have all played a role in shaping me for the better.
Personal development is fueled by your environment and the people contributing to your decisions. Make sure you are surrounded by positive people who further your goals, rather than holding you back.
Your life is a reflection of your inner circle. The more they pick you up, the happier you will be.
Do you trust this person?
You are what you do, not what you say you’ll do.
You don’t want to be around someone that doesn’t prove their authenticity through action.
Deception is not a healthy part of any relationship, especially at work. Look out for people who live as an “alter ego” of themselves in the office and be sure to check your own ego in the process.
A fulfilling life is built by the relationship you maintain with yourself and those around you.
We all want to share our life with others. Take a moment to think, listen, and put your words into action. It will take real effort and honesty. But I can guarantee that reflecting on and improving your office relationships will be worth it in the end.