Strengthening Relationships in the Workplace with Better Communication
In an age when we’re beginning to finally recognize just how connected everything is in the entire universe, we would do well to remember that this also applies to much smaller groupings of entities, such as employees in the workplace. Everyone can work together much more effectively if you take the time to strengthen relationships in the workplace. Most relationships in the workplace that turn sour or just never go anywhere can be traced back to poor communication. The following six tips for better communication can do wonders for strengthening relationships in the workplace:
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- Be Fully Present During Communication. When you communicate, you really need to be there, fully present in the moment, with whoever you’re speaking to. This means eliminating all the things that can be a distraction. Step away from the Computer. Turn off your cell phone. Turn the ringer off your phone. Whatever it takes, show the other person you’re willing to give you’re your full attention.
- Take Turns When Talking and Listen. I know this sounds a bit obvious, but the problem probably isn’t talking over others (although it might be). What’s more common is that you get so wrapped up in thinking about what you want to say next that you’re not actually listening as deeply as you should. One thing you can do to make sure you’re really hearing is to echo back to them what you think you heard, giving the other person the chance to clarify or correct anything you don’t have quite right. Be careful with echoing, though, because too much of it may seem like you’re mocking the other person. You also want to be sure you don’t interrupt. Let the other person finish their complete thought rather than you finishing it for them.
- Check Your Body Language. Perhaps the most important aspect of what you do with your body while communicating is maintaining eye contact. This can be especially difficult for men, but you have to bite the bullet and learn how to do it. The other person may be depending on it as a sign that you’re fully engaged in the conversation. You also need to be mindful of all kinds of gestures and other things that can happen without you even realizing it that send negative signals. This includes things like rolling your eyes, crossing your arms across your chest, or looking away. It also means tuning in and reading the body language of others as well.
- Open and Honest Wins the Day. Everyone in the workplace deserves honesty from each other. Not in a brutal or hurtful way, but in a here’s-how-I’m-really-feeling kind of way. You also need to learn to be open to communicating about things you have maybe never talked about before in the workplace. That may sound serious, but it’s what you need to do to keep building stronger relationships.
- Actions Speak Louder Than Words. We need to remember that communication is about more than just talking, although that’s always going to be the main way we communicate with each other in the workplace. But actions speak very loudly as well. We need to always be on the lookout for ways that we can show our appreciation for the contributions and efforts of others.
- Laughter Really is the Best Medicine. Laughing just feels good, and laughing together with others is even better. There’s a scientific basis for this as well. When you laugh, your body releases hormones that reduce depression and even boost your immune system. When you laugh with someone, it really is contagious, and is one of the many ways that people bond with one another.
A focus on better communication is just one of many ways to strengthen relationships in the workplace. Future articles will cover others, such as establishing and maintaining a positive atmosphere, the language of success, and using active constructive responses.
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