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Work relationships take work

Building good working relationships starts with people skills. There are two kinds of relationships in the workplace:  professional and personal.  With the number of waking hours spent at work most often exceeding time with family or at home, it is important to make the best of work time.

Professional relationships are for the purpose of getting your work done.  They help you to succeed on the job and can advance your career.  Personal relationships are for social purposes and serve to improve job satisfaction and help you to cope.  Some become both types of relationships and are the most rewarding.  They can help to make work fun and productive at the same time.

Some of the types of relationships include:

1.  Co-workers

2.  Team members

3.  Manager/boss

4.  Mentor/mentee

All of these relationships are important for success.  It requires effort in these work relationships just like it does for spouses and other family members.  Always be professional.  Make an effort to get to know the other person. All work relationships will not be great, but they can be workable.  It is to everyone’s advantage.

If you get the reputation of being difficult to work with or lack the ability to get along with others it will become a negative impact for future growth and opportunities. Actions that you can take to build positive relationships include the following:

• Return texts, emails, phone calls promptly

• Offer help to others whether it is in your job

• Compliment the work of others

• Avoid office gossip

• Listen to others in the office

• Be courteous and respectful of others regardless of position

• Don’t keep people waiting, be on time for meetings and appointments

• Be ethical in all your dealings with others

• Avoid office romances

• Be positive, avoid negativity

• Focus on open communications

Dale Carnegie said, “You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”

Workers in office environments tend to pair up similar to how children do in home, school and other places.  Therefore if there are more than two people in the department there will be differences in personalities that can cause conflicts.  Everyone desires enjoyable and productive relationships.  Gallup reports that people who have a best friend at work are seven times more likely to be engaged in their jobs.  Even having good friends in the workplace people are more likely to be satisfied.  There will always be people you have to work with that you don’t like.  However, it is important to work at getting along.  It will benefit you and the company.  The basis for good relationships include the following.

1.  Trust — This is the foundation of every good relationship.  Work at gaining trust of others and other people will trust you.  Building trust takes time.

2.  Respect — Having respect of your co-workers, valuing their input and ideas will result in their valuing of yours and respecting your insights.  Finding solutions based on collective wisdom and creativity can be developed.

3.  Communications —  The better you communicate with others, whether it is through emails, texts or face-to-face,  the more effective and enjoyable your relationships will be.  Communications are two-way, listening and speaking/writing.  Be open.

4.  Responsibility — Take responsibility for your words and actions.  Be mindful and careful and don’t let negativity impact you.  Hold yourself accountable.

5.  Acceptance — Be accepting of other people.  Welcome diversity.  Consider others’ insights and take them in account in decision making.

Building and maintaining good work relationships will not only make you more engaged and committed but it will open doors to key projects, advancement in your career, promotions and increases in compensation.  The more you give in your relationships the more you will get back from those around you.

Becky Vaughn-Furlow retired from Trustmark Bank as executive vice president and human resources director. She can be contacted by emailing bvaughnfurlow@gmail.com.