Since we spend so much time at work in our lifetime, it’s a good idea to work in a positive environment, right? Yet, many people are unhappy either with their boss, their office, their industry and most commonly their coworkers. While there are many reasons for conflict in the office, there are basic practices that managers can establish to help employees interact more positively with each other.
Tips and Techniques
Here are some techniques that you can implement in the office to promote better relationships between coworkers:
Get to Know Each Other
The first step to finding peace at your job is learning more about your coworkers. This means learning about their personal interests not just things pertaining to work. Finding time for casual conversations can help coworkers feel at ease and comfortable showing more of their personality. If you are an introvert, work on one person at a time, but if you are an extrovert, you can work with an entire team.
Building relationships with your coworkers can also ease conflicts and tension. Managers and administrators can also take the initiative to plan things that the team can do together.
Be the Example
Office managers can change the atmosphere and culture in the workplace simply by leading by example. When they demonstrate confidence, give respect to others, and show their balance of work ethic and personal values and beliefs, other employees are likely to follow with the same behavior. Hone your leadership qualities and you’ll have a much easier time addressing conflict and minimizing toxic behavior at work.
Asking questions or asking for help is one of the best ways to build stronger relationships in the workplace. After all, everyone in the office has different strengths and areas of expertise. So encouraging people to reach out when they need clarification or extra help with a project will promote respect across departmental lines and between managers and subordinates. This is particularly important for new hires. Prioritizing respect and patience when people ask questions directly affects how new hires will perceive the company and how they will perform in the future. It will show coworkers and new hires that the company has trust in its employees and that managers value their input.
All managers and HR administrators should practice listening - not just hearing about a situation and reacting, but actually listening. Many times office managers are called to resolve issues in the office and become primed to react with canned responses from the company handbook or policy jargon that they’ve been trained to say. While this is to be expected, it takes extra effort to consider every side of a problem and really understanding it before responding. In a conflict situation, understand where the speaker if coming from first and then share what you think of their situation and possible solutions. You can also encourage more empathy when coworkers speak with each other by helping them understand their roles on a deeper level. Conflict and miscommunication often arise when there is limited knowledge of how different roles with the company collide or naturally conflict.
Encourage Positive Attitude
Positivity is contagious! And pessimism spreads even faster, so being sensitive to the general mood of the office can reduce poor productivity. Be motivated and have a can-do attitude that can then spread onto your coworkers and help them work better. Focus on solving problems and helping other people solve theirs, and you will instantly project that optimism onto your coworkers.
An office is, at heart, a community. This means that it’s the place where knowledge is shared and people collaborate. Encourage employees to work with other people and lending a helping hand outside of their immediate circle. Sharing skills and expertise, offering help, and accepting expertise from others can strengthen employee relationships in a very short time. This will show that the company is willing to invest time in employees’ personal growth and success. Managers should also be approachable with comments and questions. Be in tune with what your coworkers need from you.
Your feedback should strive to be uplifting and encouraging but also realistic and helpful. Don’t sugarcoat reality and make sure that you are honest. Of course, don’t be too harsh Instead, provide constructive criticism that will help employees become better in the future. Point out gaps and missed opportunities but do so in a way that will bring out the best in your teammates.
It’s also important not to sandwich criticism with compliments. This is a popular tactic but it weakens your point. You should not critique people in front of everyone either.
Participate in events
If your office or company is hosting an event, you should always encourage everyone to participate. It shows that you support the company and its team-building efforts. It can be a volunteer day, a holiday gathering, a retreat or even something as simple as drinks after hours. This is all very important and it can make a huge difference in how people interact with each other.