If you like your job but detest some of the people you work with, there are few solutions: Either change jobs or improve your working relationships. All it takes is a friendlier tone of voice and a show of respect.
Good working relationships are important in ensuring an emotionally healthy workplace. Be aware that this takes effort to cultivate and manage. Start by:
1. Treating others with respect and dignity
2. Managing your emotions
3. Communicating effectively
Treat others with respect and dignity
A culture of respect and dignity in the workplace will ensure a healthy working environment. You can contribute to this environment by:
- building a sense of community spirit at work through lunches, Family Day and team-building workshops.
- abiding by work ethics and maintaining confidentiality.
- treating your colleagues as you would like them to treat you.
- Supporting your colleagues in times of need.
Manage your emotions
It is common to experience anger and/or anxiety at work. When you are overwhelmed by such emotions, there’s a tendency to react explosively or become withdrawn. In contrast, a sense of calm and stability is maintained when you are able to manage your emotions well. This allows you to work better with your colleagues, even in stressful work situations.
Check your thought patterns
One of the ways to manage your emotions is to check your thought patterns. Sometimes, we may have negative thought patterns that make us feel that we are not in control of our emotions. Learn how to identify these negative thought patterns and correct them accordingly.
Stay cool with relaxation techniques such as:
- Deep breathing (i.e. inhaling and exhaling slowly until you feel calm).
- Slowly counting to 10.
- Playing relaxing or soothing music.
- Excusing yourself from the situation to take a breather. However, assure the other party that you will come back to handle the situation.
Effective communication in the workplace will minimise misunderstandings among colleagues and thus maximise work efficiency. To ensure that the right message is communicated, you have to look into these components:
1. The words used
2. The tone of voice
3. Non-verbal cues
- Body language
- Emotions expressed
- Relationships between the communicating parties.
The following are a few helpful tips to ensure effective communication:
Practise active listening
- Restate in your own words what you have heard to ensure that you have understood the other party correctly.
- Do not interrupt when the other party is talking.
- Ask relevant questions to demonstrate that you are paying attention and are interested in what the other party is saying.
- Giving positive feedback may encourage your colleagues to do better next time.
- When giving negative feedback:
- Focus on the action and the reaction it caused.
- Exclude judgmental comments that might hurt the other party, e.g. “You are so slow!”
- Speak in a calm and gentle tone.
Use “I” statements
- Using “I” statements in your communication prevents the other party from feeling threatened or acting defensively.
- State assertively your opinions instead of criticising or blaming.
- For example, “I feel upset when our project is delayed. Let us try to keep to deadlines to prevent such delays in the future.”
Pay attention to body language
- Maintain eye contact while talking to show your interest and connect with the other party.
- Avoid distracting actions when communicating, e.g. playing with pens.
In conclusion, managing healthy relationships at the workplace not only increases understanding, but also leads to a happier and less stressful working environment.