By: JOHN RAMPTON
According to Globoforce, 78 percent of people who work between 30 to 50 hours per week actually spend more time with their coworkers than with their families. Because of the amount of time that we spend with colleagues, I find it pretty important to encourage friendships in the workplace.
Not only does it boost morale, it also increases trust and productivity throughout the departments in the company and helps the company gel as a whole.
I’ve noticed over the years that I have fostered some of the best relationships and best friendships I’ve ever had at work. I’ve also had to work at repairing some damaged relationships due to stupid things that I really didn’t realize were damaging the people closest to me.
Here are a few things that I personally have had to work on over the past years to not destroy my workplace relationships.
Workplace gossip doesn’t just destroy relationships. It can be so damning that it’s considered to be a ‘virus’ that is “worse than any flu or bug and will decrease your quality of work, and destroy profits and morale fast if you don’t do some fast treatments.” The reason? Workplace gossip can convert a place of business into a battlefield, where team members are forced to pick sides. Not only does this create a hostile environment, it also eliminates any trust that has been built among colleagues.
Preventing gossip in the workplace isn’t easy, but whenever you hear a story getting passed along the office, ask yourself if the story is actually true — and don’t continue to spread the virus. Sometimes you may have to even let the main culprit of gossip go to prevent this from continuing. Gossiping doesn’t always have to be negative either, but it can still hurt.
This is one I’ve really struggled with. We’ve all worked with the individual who either is frequently late, can’t attend a meeting because of an emergency, or fails to follow-through on a promise. When you have an unreliable person on the team, it proves to everyone else that they don’t follow through.
To fix this problem I stopped overextending myself and committing to things I could never complete on time. Always follow through, and if you can’t make a deadline let the person know before it’s due. It didn’t happen overnight, I had to work at it but it’s helped me regain the trust of those around me and grow my business more than ever.
I know a lot of people who do their best work at the last minute. While this may be effective for the individual when working on a solo project, this is not always a good practice, nor fair to the rest of the team who has already completed their part of the project. In a company, we are a team. When there’s procrastination, it forces other team members to scramble on to finalize a project at the last minute. This not only puts unnecessary stress on colleagues and can be a huge let down.
I’ve started to prioritize the things I hate the most and hardest to complete at the beginning of the day. This helps me to not procrastinate. I’ve also gotten into the habit of completing projects a day early. This also helps when I screw something up (we all do it) so I have time to fix.
Think back to your childhood. Did you trust the bully? Did you want to be around those kids who treated you poorly and made you feel abused? Of course not. Unfortunately, there are adults who can also be considered bullies. These people can make the workplace uncomfortable for employees — since they don’t feel safe. Even if someone is not the object of the office bully, the negative impact is immeasurable.
We’ve all told a white lie here and there. Whether it’s calling in sick because you would rather go to the beach or claiming that you don’t know how to use a piece of hardware / software, these little white lies seemingly are harmless. And, in some cases, that’s the case. As David Shulman, associate professor at Lafayette College and author of From Hire to Liar: The Role of Deception in the Workplace, says in Bloomberg Businessweek, “They’re really in the interest of getting the job done.”
Frequently, pathological liars, however, can become a serious problem in the workplace. It diminishes their integrity and makes it difficult for others to trust them — especially if these individuals are in top management.
7. Saying one thing and doing another
One of the most infuriating occurrences among colleagues is when they promise you something and fail to deliver. For example, if you were building a website and it’s ready to go live, but you’re you’ve been waiting for the copy from a colleague for the last week, wouldn’t you be agitated?
If you want to keep peace in the workplace and maintain the trust of team members, follow through on your promises.
8. Stealing credit
Let’s keep this one short and sweet. Taking credit for someone else’s work illustrates that you only care about yourself. This selfish act decreases trust and will quickly cause colleagues to turn against you. So, always give the appropriate credit to the person who earned it.
9. Addicted to social media but failing to respond to emails
How much time do you spend on social media each day? I bet you it’s four times what you think it is. Prioritize responding to emails and finishing up work before you allow yourself to go on social media… unless you found this article through social media, to which I would say, touche!
10. Not being a team player
There are definitely times when working independently can be beneficial — such as completing a report before a deadline. However, you can’t expect to be successful in the workplace by being the “lone wolf.” In fact, being a team player can make you stronger both personally and professionally, as well as realizing that the team goal is more important than any individual goals that you’ve set.
Not only does being a team play build trust, it helps motivate the team to support and work together to support each other and finalize a project.