How would the people you work with describe your workplace behavior? Do you have a reputation for being easy to work with? Do you work hard to get along with everyone? Do you help other people get their work done? Are you cognizant of how you’re perceived by other people at work? And, in summary, are your working relationships really working?
Having great working relationships
The way you answer these questions is related to the importance of having great working relationships with the people we work with and what those great relationships look. And, in this context, it is important to develop your emotional intelligence which can have a real impact on your ability to work well with others.
There is a very simple and important truth: to be successful and get things done in modern organizations we need the help of other people. Having great working relationships is a critical gateway to getting the help we need from others. This is a fact, regardless of what we do or where we work. So, as it turns out the statement “no man or woman is an island” it’s true, and it’s especially true at work.
The benefits of having great working relationships
We get along with the people we work with there’s almost always a better flow of information and stronger communications. in addition the people we work with can have a big impact on our willingness to come to work our attitude once we get there and our willingness to stay with our current employer.
Truth be told great working relationships can be a tremendous source of motivation encouragement satisfaction and at times these core relationships can even make work fun and when we get along with people at work stress levels go down and there’s far less drama in the workplace and we all know that excessive workplace drama can be the worst.
An effective working relationship
It is critically important to identify the key people in your organization that you need to develop a mutually beneficial working relationship with and then take proactive steps to foster and nurture the human connections, and to make this happen requires great people skills proper focus and time.
So it’s a career imperative that we could we forge an effective 360° working relationships with the people above us our peers and coworkers and if you’re in a leadership position the people that report to you. An effective working relationship is one that fosters ongoing support and positive interactions that facilitate our ability to get results in a healthy sustainable way.
What good working relationships look like
First there is the relationship part of the equation. Effective working relationships are based on each party demonstrating mutual respect for the other empathy by putting yourself in another person shoes. Engaging in acts of common courtesy, demonstrating appropriate social etiquette and behavior, and trust.
Knowing and remembering people’s names, operating on a first name basis, asking people how they’re doing or how we might help them, being really sensitive to other people’s time and practicing two-way communications are just a few of the things that fuel great working relationships.
Second let’s look at the working part of the equation. Working relationships are based on mutually understood performance expectations and needs. A shared sense of responsibility and ownership for the work to be done and both parties sharing a commitment to helping each other get their work done.
In this regard, effective working relationships require a give-and-take mentality on the part of both parties. If things like conflicts of interest, inflexibility and unmet performance expectations become part of a working relationship, trouble is not far behind. When people fail to keep commitments hoard resources take credit and share blame and summarily are hard to work with working relationships tend to break down with negative and even devastating consequences.
Building effective working relationships
At a minimum when we interact with people in this category we are never quite sure what to expect or how they’re gonna respond to us in turn or if the exchange will be productive. Whether we are willing to admit it or not these relationships might hurt and hinder your ability to deliver desired results and to enjoy work.
If any working relationship is not working you should respond to the situation as you would with any other performance problem, you need to analyze the situation identify the root cause of the problem select appropriate action and implement the necessary changes. If you have performance damaging relationships that are holding you back it’s your responsibility to take action.
Developing emotional intelligence
In 1998 Harvard psychologist Daniel Goleman wrote a breakthrough book entitled “Working with emotional intelligence”. Goleman and his researchers found that a person’s emotional intelligence or EQ actually plays a more crucial role than IQ in terms of long-term career success.
In fact Goleman found that smart people fail in their careers when they demonstrated an inability to use emotional intelligence with the people they work with. But, what is what is emotional intelligence? There’s lots of different definitions but we should try using one just to make things clear.
Emotional intelligence is the capacity for recognizing your own emotions and those of others for motivating ourselves and the people we work with and for managing emotions effectively in both ourselves and in our relationships with others.
Why emotional intelligence
And, studies have found exceptionally strong linkage between emotional intelligence and success across a wide spectrum of industries. Entrepreneurs have been found to generate more revenue for their organizations when they demonstrate social awareness or the ability to effectively read others when compared to entrepreneurs who lack this important dimension of EQ.
People who can connect more effectively and build and sustain strong working relationships are in a better position to deliver better performance and to be more successful in their careers. People who can connect more effectively and build and sustain strong working relationships are in a better position to deliver better performance and to be more successful in their careers.
The 4 dimensions of emotional intelligence
The first two key dimensions of emotional intelligence focus on the things that individuals need to know and understand about themselves to be effective in their working relationships with others.
- self awareness – people with high self-awareness recognize and understand how their emotions impact their behavior and their thinking.
They also have an accurate assessment of the strengths and weaknesses which enhances their self-confidence and they understand that their emotions and their behavior can have a powerful effect on the people around them.
It’s important to note that highly effective people typically have great self-awareness and they find ways to control their emotions.
- self-management – People to stay focused so as to be able to achieve a desired goal people with this dimension demonstrate self-control transparency and candor and optimism and persistence in pursuing goals.
People who have strong self-management capabilities tend to be self-motivated, set challenging goals for themselves and others, they are really willing to work hard and they demonstrate flexibility in adapting to changing situations or in dealing with problems.
When you’ve identified the specific results that you need to accomplish and how they are linked to specific working relationships make sure that you do the things that are bringing out the best in others to increase the likelihood of success.
The next two dimensions of emotional intelligence shift from understanding and managing ourselves to focusing on other people.
- social awareness – is when a person has the capacity to sense and understand how others feel what other people want and need and takes an active interest in the concerns of other people in a given situation.
People with great social awareness are really good at reading and tuning into the situation they find themselves in. They seek to understand the organizational context to help them make sense out of the things going on around them.
Make it a real priority to put yourself in the position of the people you’re working with so you understand and empathize with the challenges that they face in working with you in getting their work done.
- relationship management – These skills allow an individual to influence the emotional tone of a group to articulate a direction or a vision and to influence the behavior of other people in positive and sustainable ways.
People who are strong in this area are good at getting people to unite around things that are important and at directing them to where the group needs to go to be successful.
It’s critically important for all of us to invest time and energy in our working relationships and look for ways to maintain motivate and encourage others to experience the benefits of working together.
To wrap things up let’s end with a warning from Daniel Goleman himself on the issue of emotional intelligence: “If you don’t have self-awareness, if you’re not able to manage your distressing emotions, if you can’t have empathy and have effective relationships then, no matter how smart you are, you’re not going to get very far”.