Career adviser Beverly Flaxington recently sent us a selection of relationship tips for the workplace. As she writes, “career success hinges on your ability to community well, foster mutually beneficial relationships at work, and earn the respect and loyalty of [colleagues].”
Those of us who work flexibly and/or remotely know, of course, that work relationships can be critical to success. It’s too easy to hide behind emails, if you aren’t connected to your coworkers. And working via email alone can quickly lead to misunderstandings or simple disengagement.
If you’re a member of a remote team, make the extra effort. Pick up the phone. It’s not enough to just get the work done. You need to make connections.
Why? Because connections keep people “plugged-in” to their work. They keep people from jumping ship and taking other jobs. And they make it a whole heck of a lot easier to work through all those inevitable challenges and hiccups that come with being in business.
Here are some of our favorites from the tips Flaxington sent:
1. Confront thoughtfully. Sometimes you want to confront another person about a disruptive behavior, for example, or a performance issue. Many people never learn how to give feedback well–positively or negatively. Learn best practices in giving feedback.
2. Don’t assume. Assumptions are one of the many culprits in workplace misunderstandings, lost sales, and failed business negotiations. Try to come to every interaction with open eyes and an inquisitive mind. Don’t guess what the other person thinks or wants; learn to love the question, “Why?”
3. Pay attention to culture. Watch what is acceptable in your environment and what is not. Many people think they are doing the “right” thing but find themselves in trouble because they didn’t pay attention to the cues about values in the culture.
4. Stop fixing others. We’re great at seeing others’ flaws and missteps, and we can often see how they can avoid getting into trouble with a few simple tweaks of their behavior–much better than we can do this for ourselves. Focus on you, and let them make their own mistakes.
5. Be an interested observer. Learn by watching others’ reactions to things being said. You’ll observe “helpful” people, “I feel sorry for myself” people, and “giving” people, to name a few types. Now watch yourself. Do you also react as a “type” instead of as an objective listener?
Flaxington is the author of Make Your SHIFT: The Five Most Powerful Moves You Can Make to Get Where YOU Want to Go. Available on Amazon.