We all know how stressful work can be, and it’s difficult enough with the pressure of all our actual tasks. The last thing we need is to worry about a tense office environment.
Besides, life is too short to be anything less than fun.
You don’t need a leadership position to change the atmosphere in your workplace. In fact, this is a list of the 7 ways I changed mine without one.
I talked about the first 3 tactics last week. Now, we’ll focus on the last 4.
#4 Find common ground.
It was difficult at first to connect with some of my coworkers. But pretty soon I learned that you can find common ground with ANYBODY.
“Oh, you like bowling? I went bowling once. It’s so hard! How do you manage to drive the ball down the center without going into the gutter?!”
“You collect porcelain mice? How interesting! Do you have a large collection? What made you start that hobby? I bet there’s a good story in there.”
By the way, these are REAL conversations I’ve had.
And each conversation led to the start of a great friendship. The more you know about people the easier it becomes to establish a real connection.
You don’t have to be fake. All it takes is a genuine interest in the lives of your coworkers and you’d be surprised the incredible things you learn.
#5 Be a friend.
At the end of the day it’s all about relationships.
Yes, our goal is to perform at our best and to accomplish the goals of the organization, but we are human and there are times that emotions, personal issues, and illness will impact us at work.
I wanted my coworkers to know that I cared about them and what concerned them ultimately concerned me.
If there was a problem that I could help solve, or if I could just be there for a team member, I wanted them to know they had a friend.
#6 Collaborate across departments.
I’ve always heard that competition fuels creativity, resourcefulness, and generates new ways to accomplish goals. But if that’s the case, imagine how much more we can do if we collaborate?
Just think what we could accomplish if we collaborated not only in our own teams and departments, but if we joined forces even across industries!
When we pull from people with differing backgrounds and experiences, we are opening the door to all kinds of innovation. Who knows what could be accomplished with such a large think tank.
Once I had built relationships in my immediate area I started widening my circle. I made friends in other departments and pretty soon I had built up a large network of collaborators. If I had a problem, it was much easier to solve with an army of people in different positions, than it would have been if I had been flying solo.
#7 Be interruptible.
The most difficult part of all this is that we still have tasks to complete. Sometimes we get so bogged down with work that it is frustrating when a coworker needs something.
But we have to be interruptible. Even when we’re not feeling it.
Consistency in our willingness to serve and love our coworkers is the only way we can build a culture of relationship.
Obviously, it’s okay to have a bad day once in a while. But overall we need to be showing consistent readiness to help and support our team.
In my case, I let people know that I was always available. There was never a bad time to ask me a question. If I was on the phone, in a meeting, or working on a time-sensitive project, they knew I would respond as soon as I was done. I didn’t let people treat me like a doormat (always doing their work for them) but I tried to make it clear from the beginning that my first priority was the team.
I hope this has inspired you to create a culture of relationship in your organization. There is so much more we can accomplish as a team than we can on our own. It all starts with one person being willing to sacrifice their comfort and serve the rest of their staff and the possibilities from there are endless.