Sunday, 13 May 2012


Do you want to be more effective at work? Get more done on the job? Learn new skills? One of the ways to do this is by developing positive, supportive, effective, and mutually beneficial interpersonal relationships at work. We've said it in a previous article that it is rare for an employee to work in complete isolation and even when there is limited contact with other members of staff, some form of interaction will take place with other people from time to time. The act of having positive relationships cannot be overemphasized because rather than having something to lose, you then have only everything to gain. In the workplace, managing relationships assumes significance due to the myriad relationships - your peers, superiors, subordinates, partners, clients, customers, etc - and for everyone there's a different code of conduct.
But why manage relationships? Why can't they just happen and evolve? The answer is very simple: if you allow a relationship to just grow, it can grow into something either positive or negative. naturally over time both good and bad things will happen in the office and it will not always be smooth sailing. Disagreements and differences in opinions will occur and they will also have to be managed. Good working relationship(s) are therefore dynamic; and must take into account a number of things including - social setting; level of the person(s) within the organization; and circumstances happening outside the office that may affect your relationship while at work. Here are some simple rules for managing relationships at work

Set clear Boundaries and standards.
Misunderstandings crop when things are fuzzy. Everyone should be aware of the parameters of the relationship and you remain clear and direct. Also have standards for yourself. your watchwords should always be "I will remain courteous and polite at all times"
Develop your communication skills
Be a good listener. Respond and deal conflict and learn how to say 'no' and 'yes' when appropriate.
See other people's point of view
This is a key communication skill. If you seethings from your side, you provide solutions from that perspective and waste precious time. So, see and accept others point of view too.
Gauge others expectations
This is simple but is often overlooked. It's easy to assume what other people want without checking it out. Understanding people’s temperaments & personalities goes a long way in understanding their reaction to what you are communicating.
Initiate solutions as problems come
Miscommunication can and will occur. Don't hope problems go away, wait till they get bigger and out of control, or sulk/become defensive. Remember, when building a relationship, you must understand who you are dealing with. Face the problem head on in a manner that the other person will understanding & appreciate while respecting both your position & the position of the other person within the organization. You cannot face a problem with your boss the same way you would a colleague or subordinate, so act appropriately.
Give more
Keep your relationships dynamic by offering insight, ideas andsupport. Recognize and acknowledge their contributions. This creates valuable loyalty points.

Remember, when managing work relationships, there is no 'if only'.. You can't control what others do or say but you can manage your relationships following the above simple guidelines . Once you assess what's really going on, you can then start to manage the situation either by initiating changes to the relationship or review what's already working. Agreed, it's difficult to master the art of managing relationships but try and learn the skill as it is a major key to your success at work!

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