Maintaining workplace relationships can be a challenge. The workplace is a random collection of people who probably have little in common when it comes to characteristics, traits, and personalities. In fact, interest in the job may be the only attribute everyone in the office has in common.
Unlike our partner or friends, we haven’t chosen to be with our fellow employees or boss because of their personality. Culture, upbringing, and other traits may be a constant source of friction between colleagues. Even though problems can develop in personal relationships, there is often no emotional connection with our office colleagues. This can make it even harder to work at preventing workplace relationships going sour.
Another challenge that can affect relationships between employees is to do with shared values. Usually, in our personal lives, we choose our partner or friends based on our set of values in life. However, in the office, we may have to deal with people different viewpoints that may be poles apart from ours. Therefore, most of us spend the majority of our waking time with people who may have little in common with our perspectives on life.
Throw into the mix that the office has its own hierarchy, it’s is easy to see how it can be a challenge to maintain workplace relationships.
The key to maintaining any kind of workplace relationship is to respect the viewpoint of the other person. Every person has their own viewpoint and each person has his or her right to their viewpoint. In many cases, there may not be one single way to carry out a task. Very often, respecting the viewpoint of a fellow employee can help to find solutions to problems.
It can be a challenge not to get emotionally involved with events in the workplace, especially if you are involved in a specific task. But, if a boss or fellow employee criticises an aspect of your work, try to see the wider picture. There are literally hundreds of reasons why someone could slight you, and very few of them are probably to do with you.
So before reacting, take some time out to gather your thoughts and if necessary, come back and try to get some clarification.
Of course, not taking things personally doesn’t mean that you don’t take your job seriously or have a personal responsibility to it.
In most circumstances, it is vitally important to communicate with the other person if you feel that there is some friction. Sometimes, it may be a challenge to approach the other person, especially if you feel they are being passive-aggressive towards you. So, try to imagine that the situation is inside a snowglobe and you are outside it. This may help you be more objective to the uncomfortable situation.
In some cases, it is best to have an informal chat with the person or if the situation escalates, have someone from HR come in as a mediator.
Of course, keeping open communication in the workplace can help prevent many challenges when it comes to maintaining relationships in the office.
Very often, a person’s body language, the tone of voice, or emotions may cloud the message that they are trying to get over. So, try to see through any emotions or perceived ideas you may have and try to listen to the words being said.
Of course, making sure that you are sending the correct signals when it comes to body language can also help to prevent misunderstandings.
It is also good to remember that, in general, all employees are working towards a common goal. Even small businesses that have a few employees need to work together to be successful. So, rather than let personal differences or emotions affect workplace relationships, remember everyone has the goal of moving the business forward.