Content provided courtesy of USAA | By Chad Storlie
Growing and strengthening your work relationships are a critical skill for becoming more valued and productive at work. Use these 10 tips to build stronger relationships at work.
Be prepared for meetings and keep them brief
Meetings and the sheer number of them with their increasing length is an incredible source of workplace stress. Keep meetings to 30 minutes or less, have a pre-distributed agenda, and cancel the meeting if it is not needed. Respecting people’s time and using meeting time efficiently will instantly convey a message of respect for co-workers' busy schedules.
Get out of your work space
Leaving your desk, saying good morning, and helping others with a task are easy, simple, and incredibly productive methods to build strong relationships. When you get up and enter another person’s workspace, it sends the message that you care about that person and respect them. The simple act of walking around and saying “Hi” makes you a friendly stress reliever for co-workers.
Help others learn a new skill
See someone struggling with an Excel formula? Are you an SQL guru? Have a draft presentation that can save someone an hour of work? These are all simple ways to help others learn a new skill and get their work done. Generally, these can be a minimal 15 minutes of teaching that can save someone hours of work.
Help others out on a deadline
Helping a co-worker on a deadline, answering a customer’s call, or running some data can be a lifeline when a co-worker is on a tight deadline. Merely helping out, even a small bit, can have an enormous positive impact for someone under stress. Keep a lookout for small acts that can make a big difference.
Introduce levity into conversations
Small, classy jokes, or a bit of levity can really help lighten the mood during the workday. Laughter releases stress, makes others smile, and helps lighten the mood. Do your best to use respectful, classy levity to help everyone relax.
Listen before you speak
Listening to others, saying “thank you,” and other small gestures present an attitude and a demeanor of respect which is essential for people that have to work in close proximity to each other. Listening before speaking is one of the best ways to ensure you understand and respect another person.
Offer personal tips to solve home-life challenges
Know a good garbage service? How about a great Bounce House for a child’s birthday party? Or know where there is a great batting coach for Little League? Offering your tips for how to save time, save money, and ensure quality are great stress relievers for people. Do your bit to share these small, but critical, gems of wisdom.
Present bad news in person
When a mistake happens or some bad news needs to be delivered, go do it in person. No one likes bad news, but bad news in an email, a voicemail, or, heaven help us, a text message, is not professional or respectful. Owning a mistake, apologizing in person, and then working to correct the issue is an atmosphere of trust and respect for co-workers. Mistakes happen. Own the mistake, take responsibility, and then set the issue right.
Share the credit for success
When you get a compliment for a project that others worked on, share the names and teams for those co-workers to your superiors. Sharing the work of others is an incredibly strong way to demonstrate to others that you respect, value, and recognize their work as part of your success.
Smile, be pleasant and be polite
Good manners, a warm smile, and a respectful tone will make you a delight to work besides. Somedays when deadlines, customer requests, and competitor actions make the workday a “stress-fest” remaining polite, respectful, and pleasant is a small action that returns big rewards for co-workers.