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Focus on developing good relationships with co-workers based on respect and trust

I had to demote someone this week.

It is not easy to take something away from someone, especially when I know that they are capable. However, if their “head-space” is just not right, I have to do what is right for the common good of everyone working in that business.

Last week, I wrote in this column about how important it is for you to learn to understand others, learn to communicate efficiently, and learn to collaborate with the people around you, because you need them to be successful at work.

This is a case in point.

While my manager was able to do the job, he simply was not able to respect and have regard for his co-workers. He was did not see that his actions impacted people around him. And, while his colleagues were friendly to him at face value, most of them thought he was an ineffective employee with a mountain of bad habits.

To ensure internal equity, and to keep my team focused on the goals we have agreed on, I had to make the hard decision to move him out of a leadership role.

The irony is that I can see his ability. It’s a pity that he can’t see it…yet!

I ask all my coachees to connect with a strong purpose-drive. I know this to be the only factor required for sustained success in life. Once you are fuelled by purpose, you will find your attitude shifting.

This consequently sets you up for the next level of personal growth. The right attitude is a non-negotiable prerequisite for forming relationships with other people.

Everything you ever achieve at work is significantly impacted by the relationships you forge with others. These include your relationships with your bosses, colleagues, suppliers, customers, as well as your business associates and mentors.

You will need the goodwill of others to progress. And you can only expect that, if you actively choose to cultivate good relationships. Most people underestimate the value of building good relationships.

In 2001, Dr Daryll Hull and Vivienne Read, from the University of Sydney, with backing from the Business Council of Australia, undertook a study to examine some of the top- performing workplaces in Australia, and analyse the reasons for their success. The research then offered insights on what these workplaces had adopted as their best practices.

Their work identified 15 major factors that separated excellent workplaces from the generally good ones. These factors or “drivers” were present to varying degrees in all the outstanding workplaces they surveyed.

The study advocates that organisations can create excellent workplaces. And the characteristics that support an exceptional workplace are discernable, measureable and manageable. It even went on to say that there is no magic in this process.

The first of the 15 drivers identified was “the quality of working relationships”. This simply means that people relating to each other as friends, colleagues and co-workers played a major role in making an excellent workplace. Organisations that have people supporting and helping each other to get the job done are the most successful ones.

This simply means that you are happy to wake up and go to work, with a spring in your step, if you like the people you work with. On the other hand, if you work in an organisation with colleagues whom you think are insufferable nitwits, who don’t support and help you it makes going to work a real bother.

Many of you spend more of your waking hours with co-workers than with your spouses or families. Therefore it becomes vital that you build quality relationships with the people that you work with.

In my experience with training and coaching, team cohesiveness comes only when you forge decent relationships, based on mutual respect and understanding, with the people that you work with.

No amount of team-building activities will be able to help you connect with your co-workers. These programmes serve a very shallow purpose. The feel-good factor usually has a limited shelf life.

The commitments that people make at any teambuilding event are rarely kept, and the motivational element never lasts, unless you are grounded on purpose.

You can only build workplace relationships by first establishing personal purpose. Next, you must align your personal goals with your team’s goals. And finally, you have to establish appropriate communication strategies that will help you build strong bonds with others.

Team connectivity depends on mature and professional relationships. The most successful leaders exemplify how to do this effectively. They take the trouble to be genuinely interested in the lives of their colleagues.

Common goals that are clearly communicated, positive after-work experiences and problem-solving successes will contribute to the consolidation of workplace relationships.

Focus on developing good relationships with your co-workers based on respect and trust because this will help you get the results you want.

If you don’t do this, you will find yourself out of leadership roles, like my former manager. He was capable, but he failed the first test of leadership, which is to forge quality workplace relationships.

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