Invest time in people. Everything you will get in your life is through people. I write this article to share with my readers the importance of having great relationships at workplace. Relationships are relationships – personal or professional. It is very difficult to work in a low-trust environment where people are constantly nagging you, doubting your abilities and criticising your work.
Here are eight powerful suggestions I have for you if you wish to take your professional relationships to the next level:
* Identify the stakeholders: You should respect everyone at your workplace because everyone is there to work. However, it always helps to categorise people into the following three categories – most important stakeholders, direct colleagues and all other colleagues and peers. If I had to explain it in simpler ways, I will say that 80 per cent of your success at work depends on 20 per cent of your colleagues. Focus your energies and time on these most important stakeholders. Use the remainder time to keep others happy.
* Master your work: Only a person who knows his work well can rise in the corporate game. I always recommend my readers and seminar participants to build up both people skills and business development skills. A person who earns money for his or her employer and is a positive influence for his colleagues is often liked by the key stakeholders. To succeed in any profession, all you need is to master the top three or four skills related to that profession. Develop your skills and showcase your talent. It is great to be humble in life, but never play small in your career. If you do or share less than what you can, you are stealing not just from your employer but also from your own self.
* Do not gossip: Nothing travels faster than gossip and the only way to kill a gossip is not to let it originate. Some people always regret what they say and the ill-will their words produced. There are only two contraceptives for a hyperactive tongue – silence and appreciation. Stay quiet or only say good things.
* Appreciate in public: Never underestimate the power of sincere compliments and appreciation. If you like something about an individual, please go and tell them. If there is just one quality that can make a mediocre manager a successful leader, it is their ability to appreciate. People like to do things for people they like. Genuine appreciation increases your likability quotient. Your subordinates will not mind going the extra mile for you and your supervisors will always trust you for the positivity you bring to the organisation.
* Give feedback or criticism in private: Say good things about people you know to the people you know. The world is smaller and more connected than you think. Learn to appreciate in public and give feedback in private. Never ridicule someone in front of others. This may correct the employee’s behaviour temporarily, but in the long run, this kills emotional engagement. Strong feedback can be given in a personal meeting, so no need to make noise in the office corridors.
* Work with the top guy: This is such an important point that it needs to be highlighted separately despite the fact that I have already shared the importance of stakeholder-management. No matter how nice you are, there will always be some people who will try to bring you down or play dirty politics on you. You do not have to be like them, but make sure you have access to the most powerful people in the system. People do not mess with the people who have powerful networks. Thus, make sure that you go extra mile in adding value to the powerful people in your organisation. This is not flattery, this is a value-based relationship.
* Offer help by the way: Another way to win friends is to offer quick help and pieces of information that act as quick-wins. Share a book, an article or the latest piece of information that can make someone’s work life easier. Do this without any expectations of return. People do not forget people who help them without any agenda. This is a very small investment for the relationship benefits you will reap in the future. Never underestimate the power of gifts – gift a small book, a greeting card, a cup of coffee or even a movie ticket. These little favours do not cost much, but they give you a lot of friends. I repeat – do all this without any expectations and never keep records.
* Perception management: Manage your perception well. Nobody except you can know who you really are. Like it or not, people judge you on the basis of their perception and you can influence the perception. Dress well, talk sense and hang out with the right set of people. The people you hang out with at the workplace improve or dilute your brand. Practice regularly and keep working on what you will like people to think about you.
These eight simple steps can catapult your career to a new height. You will foster great relationships at office and will feel more engaged in your work.