Humans are social beings and relationships at work impact a person’s morale, productivity and quality of life. Years ago many workers were advised to keep their personal lives to themselves and only discuss business with fellow workers. Since then many business and mental health experts recommend that workers form relationships with their fellow workers. Developing relationships in the workplace creates empathy and moves towards a more transparent, caring and open environment. Experts recognize the presence of these attributes in high performing teams and organizations.
Given the amount of time we spend together at work, we should enjoy what we do and working with our teammates. Friendly relationships at the workplace can promote a helpful and positive attitude. People care about other people and have a genuine interest in their well-being. Trust, the main ingredient for healthy high performing teams, thrives in this type of environment.
So how can we foster good working relationships? Well, we can get to know our fellow workers better. There are a number of techniques and practices that can assist here.
As is usually the case, the discussion that takes place from doing the activity is the important and useful part.
One activity is a short Star Wars Myers-Briggs type personality test. Another practice is to use ice breakers before starting team meetings such as a thumb ball where you catch the ball and answer the question your thumb is positioned on.
Management 3.0 has some great practices and activities for getting to know your fellow workers such as Moving Motivators and Personal Maps to name two. I use personal maps with my teams and as training ice breakers. Each person creates a mind map representing themselves. They draw themselves in the middle and then flesh out the personal map with categories such as family, work, education, hobbies, etc. It is purely their choice as to what they draw. The group then inquires and discusses different areas in others personal maps. Again, the “gold” is in the discussion and relationships you build as you learn more and have fun discussing the personal maps. I recently had a team that worked with each other for awhile do this exercise and it was amazing how much new discussions it prompted.
Establishing relationships and building trust within your teams and organization is key.
What are some activities, practices and tools that you use to build work relationships at your organization?