Workplace Relationships

Yesterday I was sitting with a few friends and the topic drifted to relationships at work. One of my friends, lets call him Prasad, mentioned that relationships at his office overtook performance. People who maintained good relationships with some key decision makers at his office managed to get away with huge bonuses at the end of the year(he comes from the Banking sector –so Bonuses are Huge).

Fact is that this is not only applicable in the Banking segment – it is the norm everywhere. In positions where performance of an individual can’t be pinned down to clearly measurable criteria – relationships take precedence in appraisals. Even in other positions like sales or Software development where the results are measurable – this might not have such a huge influence. Yet the ability to build and maintain relationships cannot be undermined.

Another friend who is in the sales line had this instance to share about the efficacy of building strong relationships.  It was one of the lean months and his collections fell drastically. He was facing intense pressure to show numbers. In desperate straits he approached one of his good clients and explained the situation to him. His client came to his help – made a cheque for 2 crores, off-course the whole thing was regularised later – with proper documentation.  But, my friend stressed that it was only his relationship with his client that helped him bail out of the tough situation.

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Though my sympathies are with Prasad as I know him to be very sincere and puts 100% to his job, my vote goes to the approach of my Sales friend. By building strong relationships he has stacked the deck in his favour.

My take on this situation is whatever position you be in – give 100% to your work but give an additional 25% to building and maintaining relationships at work and not only with your superiors.

So how does workplace relationships help us?

Well a simple reason is that without decent relationships the work itself can get boring. A friendly work environment will keep everyone happy to stick around.

Good workplace relationships does not mean having to give in to every demand from your co- workers. You have the choice how to balance the two demands – your family and that of your work.

The key to maintaining good work relationships lie in a few simple techniques.

a)     Maintain a Cordial Tone with all peers, superiors & subordinates

b)     Flexible Nature

c)      Offer to help

Cordial Tone : It is quite easy to maintain more than just a cordial tone with people whom  you like. The challenge is to maintain cordial relationships with people whom you don’t like. And invariably there will be people at office whom you don’t particularly look forward to meet. If you are able to master this ability you are half way to cementing your place in your office team. Combine it with good listening skills and you will become the go to guy for any office related advice.   

Stay Flexible

Stay flexible to the demands of your workplace, even if they appear to be unreasonable. Be willing to let go of your point of you at times and go with the team decision. This is a difficult advice to take. But pays huge dividends in terms of getting acceptance as a team player. Sticking to your guns over any issue or getting people to enrol to your point of view – doesn’t pass the team spirit test.

Offer to Help

Offer to help others when you have free time and you see they are overwhelmed or bogged down. Ask for help when you need it too. By admitting that you don’t know all the answers and need the expertise or support of your co-workers, you establish a foundation on which you can build respect, one of the main ingredients for good relationships. A co-worker asking for help when it is time to leave or the boss dumping something on Friday evening. Offering to be of help is one thing but being able to help when the other person needs you – really boosts up your ratings as a Mr dependable.

Whatever be the industry you are in – you are likely to be working with people. To be able to work easily with a range of people with different temperaments and different socio –cultural backgrounds will be a great asset to develop. 

Do you have any workplace stories to share – whether on relationships or otherwise. Mail me – prakash.francis@ehirings.net

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