Relationships at work are very important. Getting along with coworkers, peers and direct reports makes your days more enjoyable, but it also makes you better at your job as an executive. Once you realize you’re eating lunch alone day after day or you don’t exchange any pleasantries with your colleagues, it’s time to make some changes.
Here are several ways to create a positive vibe at the office and improve workplace connections:
You don’t have to be friends with everyone so let go of that pressure. Nobody says you should be the ‘Hey, Hello’ person who greets everyone they meet down the hall. Small steps make a world of difference. It’s enough for you to make a connection with a few people for them to talk about you in a positive way across the office. It’s a perfect way of building a positive reputation. It might sound manipulative and rather political, but it isn’t. You intend to build relationships that will benefit everyone in the office, so let go of those negative feelings.
Make the Time
Executives often blame their busy schedules for their lack of attention to work relationships, and in most cases, they are right. The sheer volume of everything that needs to be done often stops us from forming meaningful relationships. Executives choose to turn to a project on coffee breaks or to check their phone and email rather than walking down the hall and talking to people. You need to make a conscious effort to make time for relationship-building.
Many executives worry that they will run out of things to talk about if they start a casual conversation with colleagues. But, this is where your natural curiosity should take the stage. Everyone can ask questions, so make sure you use your question-asking ability. You can ask about what they’re working on at the moment, or ask how their weekend went, or about the things that interest them, their hobbies, etc. The key is to make the conversations less about yourself and more about getting to know the employee.
Know Everyone's Name
From upper management to the janitorial staff, you should know everyone’s name. There is no other way to create a sense of community than recognizing the purpose and value of each employee. Take the time to learn at least a thing or two about each one of them. It will make them feel valued and appreciated.
Celebrate the good things in life at the office. Celebrate birthdays, baby showers, anniversaries, retirements, achievements. It brings people together and creates strong bonds among colleagues.
Don’t Forget About Your Remote Workforce
Remote workers usually miss out on all the Happy Hours at the office, all the birthday celebrations and Friday afternoon doughnut parties. Out of sight is out of mind, and you can rest assured your remote workers are feeling the disconnection. So reach out to them. Call them. Set up a video conference every once in a while. Make them feel connected to the office, make them feel appreciated.
Building solid relationships at work is crucial if you want the company as a whole to move forward with a positive attitude. XLN is an exclusive network of Senior Executives partnering to achieve professional and personal development that drives success. Start your application process today!
A lifelong serial entrepreneur and community leader, Mark Stagen, Founder of XLN, started his first company at age 15 and hasn't looked back. Since then, he’s founded, and later sold, several successful companies, including Telecore and Emerald Health Services, which have generated over $1 billion in combined revenues. Mark also founded the Youth Business Alliance, a non-profit organization that works with High Schools in economically challenged areas to educate, motivate and inspire the students on business, entrepreneurship and career development.
Mark has received numerous business and community awards including: EY Entrepreneur of the Year and Inc. 500. He is actively involved in YPO and has served in many leadership roles including Chapter Chair and Regional Chair. Mark received his BA in three years from Yale University, was a member of the Yale Football Team and is an Adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurship at the USC Marshall School of Business.