Finding the perfect position is only the beginning of job satisfaction. Have you ever heard someone say, “I’d like my job if it weren’t for the people I work with”? One of the greatest challenges in the workplace is getting along with other people. It hardly matters if someone is the best and brightest at what he does if he creates dissension in the office.
Regardless of whether someone is hired to lead or be part of the team, it is the ability to establish functional and healthy workplace relationships that can make or break their success and job satisfaction.
The Supervisor’s Responsibility
A supervisor has a particular responsibility to create a satisfying and productive atmosphere that encourages others to reach their full potential. To inspire confidence and loyalty from others, he must lead by example. If he values punctuality, he should be punctual. If he insists on respectful behavior, he should demonstrate it in his treatment of others. If he wants to create a spirit of teamwork and buy-in from his staff, he should do his best to keep them informed of developments that could affect them. In other words, a supervisor should create an environment where he himself would want to work.
Who Gets Your Attention?
Relationships among peers can be competitive and challenging in the workplace. Some people feel that the only important relationships are with those who can advance their careers. This attitude not only creates resentment among peers, but it overlooks both the importance of teamwork and the obvious benefit of building real friendships. Peers can constitute a valuable network of shared information and can generate an atmosphere of cooperation. When we build goodwill among our coworkers, we contribute to our own feelings of well-being on the job and the well-being of our coworkers as well. Teamwork and unity can strengthen the workers’ influence with managers and decision-makers, who might not make changes or improvements based on one person’s request, but will listen to a team that’s in agreement.
Gossip: Poison to Morale
Peers often work in close proximity, so respecting the privacy of others is essential to good working relationships. The primary offender of this unwritten rule is gossip. Nothing more thoroughly undermines productivity and morale. “A gossip betrays a confidence; avoid a man who talks too much.” (Proverbs 20:19). Good advice! Nothing reveals a person’s character more completely than what he or she says, so use discretion around someone who makes friends by gossiping.
When a group of people with virtually every personality type is working together conflicts are inevitable. But when we are mindful of our own behavior and determined to give an honest day’s work regardless of how our coworkers choose to behave, we have already greatly minimized our chances for conflict. If conflicts do arise, they should be handled carefully and with respect to each individual involved. Dealing with a conflict quickly at its source is usually the wisest approach. If handled one-on-one it’s far less disruptive to the workplace.
No matter what type of work you do, it is worth the effort to maintain the best possible relationships with people you work with. It can make the difference between looking forward to work each day or not!
How do you maintain good relationships with your coworkers? Have you experienced difficulty working with challenging people? Do you have a suggestion on how people can learn to get along well at work? We would like to hear from you!
Live, Work & Relate Well!
Dr. Linaman is a psychologist and executive coach providing counseling and professional development services to individuals, couples, work teams and organizations.