What’s your title?
EMPLOYER? – BOSS? – EMPLOYEE? – CO-WORKER?
Considering that you spend approximately one-third of your day where you work, shouldn’t you like where you are spending your time? Notice, right now, that I didn’t say you should like what you do. (That discussion is for another time.)
What makes a business a good place to work isn’t always about whether you like what you are doing, although that helps; what makes a business a good place to work are the people and relationships.
How we act and re-act at work can have a great impact on how we feel about our job and how we do our job.
Five Things to Improve Work Relationships
1. Leave Your Personal Baggage In Your Car (Better Yet, Leave It At Home)
No, ladies, I’m not talking about your purse. I’m talking about your emotional and personal life problems. I understand the depression and stress associated with living life, but if you dwell on those problems at work, sooner or later the people around you get tired of hearing about it.
When I got verification of my first husband’s affair, I was in the middle of my teaching day. When my source left, I had to go to my classroom full of juniors and teach the Anne Bradstreet poem, “To My Dear and Loving Husband.” Yup, it was quite the slap in the face, but my students didn’t care that my husband was having an affair and neither did my co-workers or my principal.
Get in there, get the job done, and grieve after. If you work with people who you consider close friends, schedule time after work to talk about your problems. If your problems make you grouchy and irritable, be aware about how that affects your treatment of others.
Several years ago, I read an article about separation of workplace and home. The gentleman in the article wrote about how he stopped at a tree on his way into the workplace and hung (imaginary) his life problems on a limb before he proceeded to his desk. Likewise, when he got home, he hung (imaginary) his work problems on a limb of a tree by his driveway. He never took work problems inside his home and never took home problems to work. On a positive note, I noticed when I finished the article, that the gentleman never said he picked up the problems he had hung on the branch.
Teaching public speaking classes and acting classes, it is important for students to get along. As a teacher, I always asked my acting students to park their problems at the door and pick them up on their way to the next class. We should do this as we traverse to and from our daily jobs.
2. Try Smiling
A smile spreads as easily as a yawn. A smile and a heart-felt greeting go a long way to making people feel appreciated in the workplace.
3. Use Positive Words
Positive words of criticism and encouragement go a long way with how people react to you. Replacing “Can’t you do that right?” with “I know that is how you did that at ___, but here you need to do ___ this way.”
Positive words of criticism fall flat on their face if they are accompanied by vocal tones that ooze condescension. Be aware not only of the words you use, but also aware of ALL of the non-verbal communication you are using when you say those words.
4. Be Prompt
Nothing gets on people’s nerves more that tardiness. Whether you are chronically late to work or start a meeting late, your tardiness says a great deal about how you value the time of others. Want your employer’s and boss’s respect? Show that you respect your job and place of employment by being prompt about arriving at work on time, completing task, and staying until your time is complete. Want your employee’s respect? Start meetings on time, be prompt with evaluations, and complete your tasks on time.
5. Swallow the Workplace Gossip Instead of Spewing It
Remember the adage you were taught as a kid? That is if you were old enough to have been taught it. “If you can’t say anything nice about someone, don’t say anything at all.” It’s more than about complimenting someone; it’s about eliminating gossip from your workplace – even if you believe/know it to be true.
You may not like the job you are currently doing or even the place where you are working, but remember, the people you are working with and for can do a lot for you when you change careers or workplaces. They can be your reference. They can write your recommendation.