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March 18, 2016 // WorkLife Wisdom: Improving Your Workplace Relationships

Meeting the challenges of the workday is easier if you have good relationships with those around you. You will gain your colleagues’ respect and trust if you show an interest in them, maintain a positive attitude, solve conflicts constructively, and show appreciation for others’ efforts. Improving your relationship skills will increase both your job satisfaction and your chances for career advancement. Here are some ideas about how to build on your workplace relationships.

Regularly devote time to building relationships: Make it a point to spend at least a little time each day building positive rapport with others around you. Offer an unexpected kindness or strike up a conversation with someone new.

Show interest and listen actively: Approach every workplace interaction with an open mind. This way you’ll learn more and demonstrate greater flexibility in response to new challenges. When you speak with co-workers, supervisors, or customers, practice active listening. People will note when you’re really listening to what they have to say rather than interrupting.

Strive to stay positive: While there are plenty of difficult challenges in the workplace, don’t dwell on negatives; shift gears as soon as possible into active problem solving with colleagues.

Don’t get pulled into gossip: Gossiping about others in the office doesn’t help anyone’s long-term credibility. It only causes ongoing division between people. If you see it happening, excuse yourself as gracefully as possible.

Communicate directly to ease conflicts: If an interpersonal obstacle is getting in the way at work, ask the other party to meet with you in private. Calmly and respectfully share your concerns, and ask for the other person’s help in resolving the issue. This direct approach can keep problems from lingering and getting worse.

Take constructive criticism: If a leader or colleague constructively points out a weakness in your approach, don’t become defensive. Take a few moments to consider the person’s suggestion. Although the feedback can sting, it might represent a learning opportunity.

Participate in social events: Seeing your colleagues in settings outside the workplace can help you understand them better as unique individuals. This builds greater trust within the working relationship, smoothing the way for future collaborations.

Show appreciation: Take every opportunity to praise others in the workplace for their assistance, conscientiousness, technical acumen, and overall success at work. People at every level want to know that others appreciate their contributions. Be quick to compliment, even if your contributions aren’t currently the focus. If you offer positive energy, it will return to you.

Accessible 24/7, your FAA WorkLife Solutions Program offers many different tools and resources to help deal with a challenging workplace relationship. Your program also offers services to help you and your family. Options available through the program include concierge services to help with everyday events needing your time and attention, child and elder care options, legal and financial services, in-person counseling, and much more. Call your program at 1-800-234-1327, TTY Users: 1-800-456-4006, or log on to MagellanHealth.com/Member to begin accessing these services today.