Between all those urgent deadlines, an overflowing email box, and yet another new project, it’s easy to lose track of your workplace relationships. Ultimately, your relationships will help you be more efficient and effective at work – so it’s worth the time and effort it takes to build and sustain them.
Here are 3 simple actions you can take to build better relationships at work.
Be interested. Dive into a topic that the other person wants to discuss. Ask relevant questions. Listen closely. Allow the other person to talk for the majority of time – and I really mean the majority of the time, as in 75%. For you very verbal folks, that means in a 10-minute conversation, the other person talks for 7.5 minutes and you get to speak for 2.5 minutes. Remember that people can tell when you are feigning interest or only half listening. If you are having a crazy day at work and know you cannot focus on what someone else is saying, pick a different day to try out this new behavior – a day when you can authentically be present and convey real interest.
Help them. Nothing moves a relationship forward faster than one person genuinely working towards helping another person, without any self-interest. Is the person you are speaking with struggling to solve a work issue? Can you brainstorm options with him or her? Is work life balance throwing them out of whack? Do you have suggestions for them? Or can you help them figure out how to free up some time? Does the person have a family member in search of a job? Can you give them resume advice or connect them with people in your network? Maybe you have no solutions to offer and the other person just needs to vent. My experience is that there is usually a way to help that won’t eat up days of your time.
Remember stuff. As you start having conversations and learning more about other people, their needs, and what they enjoy, it’s extremely important that you also remember what they’ve shared with you previously. If they’ve discussed stories about kids, ask about the kids. If they’ve shared angst over a new house, ask how it’s going. And if you did help their niece with a networking referral, ask how the job search is going. These simple follow-ups help others see that you are authentically engaging with them.
Cheers to your leadership success!
HR Strategy | Executive Coach | Leadership Development
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