Guide to Building Positive Workplace Relationships

It is not a secret that building a positive and productive workplace culture often starts with inter-employee relationships. If work is an unpleasant place to be, then, generally, people want to spend less time there. If employees are able to form positive bonds, however, then the workplace will not only be a more inviting place, but also a more goal and team-driven entity. While trust and respect is essential in any organization, this requires effort from both employers and employees alike. The following list highlights ways to form those positive and essential bonds with co-workers, as well as what to do if you find yourself in conflict.

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We’ve all heard that “communication is key”, and it’s true that it is. Listening and paying attention to your co-workers makes each individual feel as though his or her opinion matters and is heard. You can also engage in the practice of “active listening”, which is where you reinforce the speaker’s own ideas by repeating the general idea of what was said. This makes it known that the person was heard. You should also pay attention to how others like to communicate. Some may prefer digital communication, while as others prefer to speak face to face. Make note of this and then make an effort to meet them in the manner they prefer.

Recognize your co-workers’ unique traits.

Although everybody on your team may be different, this doesn’t mean that all are not equally valuable. If you’re a more logic-minded person and your co-worker is more creative, then make the effort to understand their personality traits from this perspective.

Don’t be resentful when mistakes are made.

If someone makes a mistake, acknowledge it and work together to fix it. Don’t announce the mistake to the entire team. Also, if you’re the one who made the mistake, own up to it and offer solutions. This is far more impressive than trying to avoid responsibility or blame other co-workers.

Venting about work at work is never a good idea.

We all have “off days” and sometimes we need people to talk to. However, those conversations need to stay separate from the workplace. Negative venting will only spawn resentment towards the company and will ultimately contribute to a toxic workplace environment. If you need to rant, do so with your friends or your significant other on your own time. If you are in a position in which you are managing others, this rule is especially true. It can create a culture of disrespect if a manager or other authority figure is complaining about a job to his or her subordinates.

Handle any conflict appropriately.

Of course, conflict is sometimes inevitable, but there is a way to handle it effectively so that all sides are considered. Dr. Marlene Caroselli, a corporate trainer at the Center for Professional Development, has coined the K-I-N-D method of dealing with conflict. If faced with a heated situation with a co-worker, remember the following:





When dealing with workplace conflict, she says, it is best to schedule a meeting with the other person. Then, for the first step in the conflict-resolution acronym, use encouraging, cooperative, and kind words which automatically open the doors for genuine interaction. Next, be sure you are informed of the other person values and how he or she works and operates. Third, remember that new techniques can help a workplace remain current and strong, and this also applies to resolving conflict with others. For the final step, be sure to come up with a definite future resolve. How are you planning to solve this problem, collectively? It’s a good idea to set up a follow-up meeting to discuss how your techniques are working.

Dr. Caroselli also gives this “project collaboration” form to be used as a tool for effective analysis and workplace discussion:

Respond to each statement with “True” or “False” in the preceding space.

1.         ____  I take ownership of the reactions I have to comments made by others.

2.        ____  I am not affected by the judgments others make of me.

3.        ____  There is alignment between what I think and what I do.

4.        ____  I don’t have to answer every question that is asked of me.

5.        ____  I can profess my ignorance on a topic and sound intelligent doing so.

6.        ____  I am comfortable admitting mistakes.

7.        ____  I understand how emotional intelligence can affect decision-making.

8.        ____ Others don’t have to like me, nor I them, in order for us to get a job done well.

9.        ____  I listen as much as I speak in a one-on-one exchange.

10.      ____  I can easily articulate our team’s mission.

11.       ____  Our team doesn’t hesitate to confront tedious issues.

12.       ____  As a rule, these confrontations are polite and professional.

13.       ____  Typically, we do not have disagreements on important issues.

14.       ____  People on our team express themselves guardedly.

This assessment will allow everyone to collaborate on solutions based on already existing workplace issues. It is highly effective for creating a harmonious workplace environment.

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Creating a fully cohesive workplace is every employee’s responsibility. There are a number of steps each person can take to keep conflict at bay. If and when conflict does arrive, however, having a plan to decrease its negative impact is crucial to the future success of the company.


Fred Coon, CEO

Stewart, Cooper & Coon, has helped thousands of decision makers and senior executives move up in their careers and achieve significantly improved financial packages within short time frames. Contact Fred Coon – 866-883-4200, Ext. 200