One of the things that
I firmly believe is how important healthy relationships are in the
workplace. Ever find yourself dreaming about how easy life, and
work, would be if we didn't have to contend with other people? Ever
think about how boring that would be, a world without others to
challenge us, teach us, support us, frustrate us, and inspire us?
Yet we can close ourselves off from a lot of learning (not to
mention loving), if we do not know how to nurture appropriate,
Theodore Roosevelt said "The most important single ingredient in the
formula of success is knowing how to get along with people." I tend
to agree (although, of course, I'm left to wonder what President
Roosevelt thought are the other ingredients to success..anyone
know?), and have come up with a few basic thoughts in this matter.
As a first step in getting along with others, I try to understand
the other person. This involves finding out how they view their
work, how they see the world (or corporate culture), what they want,
what they need, what they value. Careful observation or even
research is fine, but remember what fruit an open, straightforward
conversation can bear. Stop guessing, stop assuming; just ask!
That leads me to the second step in getting along with others:
really listen to them. Learn to listen with complete attention, and
be aware of how your body language, tone and word choices impact how
the interaction goes. I've learned that you don't have to agree with
what someone else says (a tough lesson for a "pleaser" like myself),
but listening with respect and openness to the other person and
their perspective is key.
Don't give misunderstandings, hard feelings, past hurts, anger, or
negative thoughts the time or space to grow. Those are the things
that build walls between us. If I find myself compiling a mental
list of all the things someone else has said or done that upset me,
I know it is definitely time for me to figure out what is going on
in the relationship..or in me. Which brings me to the last step:
knowing myself (which, one might argue, is really the first step to
any healthy relationship). Until I'm able to be totally honest with
myself, and see my own shortcomings and strengths, insecurities and
worth, my chances of truly connecting with someone else are slim.
Are there any relationships in your work world that need attention?
Sharon Keys Seal