We spend a lot of our time with our coworkers. Obviously not everything is great. It doesn’t have to be amazing. But it does seem to make work more fulfilling when we have good relationships in the office. You look forward to work each day. You feel that you’re supported.
But building better relationships does take time and effort. And you’re already working so time is usually precious. And then you still have your family and friends to consider. It’s a lot of energy.
But putting in the effort can be worth it. It can reduce stress. It can lead to better and more fulfilling work. It can lead to all kinds of positives.
Here are some thoughts on how to achieve better relationships in the office.
1. Build Serendipity Into Your Routine
We don’t get the chance to always meet everyone in the office. And we don’t get the chance to get to know everyone even if we do know them. Some of the great relationships in the office occur with serendipity. We stray a little from our normal routine or someone else does. We run into each other. We chit chat. A relationship can build from there.
Try to build a little serendipity into your routine. Take a different path to your office. Go for a different walk through the building one day a week. Try eating lunch at a little different time.
See who you run into.
2. Start With Curiosity
Small talk is a good thing. Especially if you don’t really know someone. The usual weather chats or something like that can get the conversation started. Maybe you wander into the break room and the person is making new coffee. You comment on how good or mediocre the coffee is. Something like that.
Once you get past the small talk it’s good to start with curiosity. A question. What’s your name. What department do you work in. I see that you’re wearing a certain watch. What kind is that.
Questions are good. There needs to be a little give and take where you share some information. But look to be curious about the other people you encounter.
3. Work On Little Team Projects
Just about every organization has projects going on all the time. Sometimes big projects. But often little projects. And many of these require people from different departments. These are opportunities for you to work with people that you don’t know real well. That can lead to introductions.
But projects are also opportunities to work closer with people. Maybe you know someone a little bit. But if you work on a project with them for a few months you’ll definitely get to know them better.
4. Try For Deeper Conversations
As you get to know someone a little bit the way to build something deeper and more meaningful comes from the conversations. You have to start talking about the things you and they care about the most. It’s a little different for each person. But it usually gets personal. Family. The past. Challenges. It could be a number of things.
If you feel a potential friendship building it can be good to wade into some deeper conversations. See how the other person responds. Don’t push too far, but pushing a little bit can be the start of something more meaningful.
5. Address Conflict
Conflict comes up in any relationship. And conflict at work can be really difficult to deal with. So if you feel it coming on with someone it’s good to address it. Ask them questions about why they feel a certain way. See if you can find a solution to move past it. There is usually a way to get through something if you’re willing to learn more and figure out what happened and why the other person is feeling a certain way. It might not be repairable, but you may be at least able to ease the tension.
Relationships are a great thing. They’re great in our personal lives. But often when we look back at our lives we appreciate the work relationships. Our good friends often come from work. Sometimes even our spouses. It’s important to seek out quality relationships in the office. And hopefully these little tips can help you find what you’re looking for.