Work, Matters! : Focus on relationship building at work

March 9, 2018 @ 8:00AM
By SHANKAR R. SANTHIRAM

Your attitude towards everything is a reflection of your purpose-drive. And, my personal anecdote here, perhaps best describes how this phenomenon works.

Eleven years ago, I met my wife Susanna on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Jakarta. At that time, she lived in capital city of Indonesia. After I successfully charmed my way into her affections to convince her to be my "steady-girlfriend", I spent a lot of time, energy, and resources shuttling between Malaysia and Indonesia.

Over a two-year period, I went to Jakarta almost every ten days, or so.

Today, when I become recalcitrant, my wife reminds me of my past. She laments on how easy it was for me to make that thousand kilometre journey so frequently, whereas now I become totally uncooperative about a six minute drive to her favorite Daiso Five Ringgit shop.

I have explained to her that this has to do with purpose. My purpose-drive in the early days of our courtship was clear. I wanted to show her my commitment, and what I was willing to do for our relationship. And, this was strongly reflected in my attitude.

My current purpose-drive for our relationship is no less important, but it has certainly matured to something else. For example, I show my commitment by working on her passion projects.

So, remember that your attitude is a by-product of your purpose.

In turn, forging relationships with others is very much based on your attitude.

Why are connected relationships crucial, at work, for you?

In 1999, the Gallup Organisation studied more than 80,000 managers to understand what they did to create quality workplaces. The study showed that people, who have a “good friend” at work, are seven times more likely to be engaged in their jobs.

Good working relationships give us some real benefits.

I certainly enjoy my work more, when I have people I like working with me.

The biggest energy drainer you face at work is when you have to deal with negative relationships with colleagues, and bosses. Good relationships at work help you focus instead on opportunities.

You also need good relationships for your career growth. The reality is that if your boss doesn't trust you, it's unlikely that he or she will ever consider you for a promotion.

In my work life the value of relationships is also really important. I have only attained some measure of success because of the robust working relationships I have with others in my professional circle.

In my businesses, my engagement levels with customers, suppliers, and key stakeholders are all essentially grounded on my ability to maintain decent relationships with them.

I would like to offer you three fundamental traits that you need to cultivate, to ensure that you are able to build healthy working relationships at work.

Be trustworthy

I cannot stress this more. There's a reason why our folks drummed this into our heads, even as kids. This is the foundation of every good relationship. It applies to both employers, and employees.

When I bought over a neighbourhood bistro restaurant, a few years ago, I realised that the team that the former owner left behind was quite competent, yet they were hardly meeting their potential.

As I started working with them, I found out that the previous bosses didn't trust them an inch. They were monitored in the most over bearing manner, micro-managed, and overall, there was a trust deficiency.

I had to work on sorting this out. And the first thing I had to learn to do was to trust the people I inherited. This trust formed a powerful bond that helped everyone work much better, as a team.

As employees, if you trust the people you work with, you can be open and honest in your thoughts, and actions. And most importantly, you don't have to waste time and energy on "watching your back."

Learn to have mutual respect

When you respect the people that you work with, you will value their input and ideas, and they in turn will value yours. Working together, you can develop solutions based on your collective insight, wisdom, and creativity.

Communicate openly

Proper communication increases connectivity. We communicate all day, every day with the people we work with. And, the better and more effectively you communicate with those around you, the richer your relationships will be.

I have a simple strategy that helps me with communicating properly.

First be clear in your interactions. Understand what you want to communicate, before even approaching anyone. Most communication issues happen when people don’t get what you actually want.

Next, be consistent in your communication modalities. People around you need to be familiar with your communication style. This reduces confusion.

Finally, always be courteous, as a rule. People will upset you, so learn to catch yourself. For strong relationships to be forged, you must remember that people only care about what you have to say, when how you say it, doesn't annoy them.

As you build strong and lasting relationships with others, you will find that your personal results will grow exponentially. Be vested in working on relationship building, it adds to your value.

Shankar R. Santhiram is managing consultant and executive leadership coach at EQTD Consulting. He is also the author of the national bestseller “So, You Want To Get Promoted?”

When you respect the people that you work with, you will value their input and ideas, and they in turn will value yours. Working together, you can develop solutions based on your collective insight, wisdom, and creativity. (File pix)
As employees, if you trust the people you work with, you can be open and honest in your thoughts, and actions. And most importantly, you don't have to waste time and energy on "watching your back." (File pix)
As you build strong and lasting relationships with others, you will find that your personal results will grow exponentially. Be vested in working on relationship building, it adds to your value.
Proper communication increases connectivity. We communicate all day, every day with the people we work with. And, the better and more effectively you communicate with those around you, the richer your relationships will be. (FIle pix)
You need good relationships for your career growth. The reality is that if your boss doesn't trust you, it's unlikely that he or she will ever consider you for a promotion. (File pix)