6 Ways To Build (not break) Work Place Relationships.

Do you ever feel like you just clash with some people and no matter what you do or what you say, they always take the opposite side of any argument with you? You know… that person that you see in the hall way coming toward where you’re standing and you immediately look down at your shoes so that you don’t engage eye contact, internally reciting “Please don’t talk to me. Please don’t talk to me!”

I am currently facilitating some training for a group of staff over several days with the goal of enhancing their working relationships. I am really enjoying working with this great group and it is so interesting to see the many “light bulb moments” they are having discussing their strengths and values. But what is so interesting, is listening to them talk about the “trials and tribulations” they have when trying to get on with certain individuals which they feel they just “clash” with.

I have been hearing statements like “Why can’t she just get it?”, “What is her problem?”, “Why won’t she listen?”, “We just can’t get along!”, “I just avoid him now”………………..Sound familiar?

We so often engage in blaming others for our poor relationships rather than looking for opportunities to be “above the line” and consider how we can focus on accountability and be solution focused.

Stay above the line

Stay above the line

Have a go at some of these techniques to assist you build one of the best workplace tools of all – your relationships.

1)   Understand Your Bad Habits.

Go on, you know you have them. We all sometimes engage in behaviours which we know we shouldn’t, but we just can’t seem to help ourselves. Which of the following are you guilty of?

  • Do I stop listening when I think I know the message the speaker is trying to convey?
  • Do I find it difficult to listen to other’s views if they are different to mine?
  • Do I start thinking of what I am going to say while the other person is still talking?
  • Do I daydream when I should be listening?
  • Do I block the other person out if I don’t like them?
  • Do I sometimes respond to others in a sarcastic or overly blunt way?
  • Can I receive criticism without becoming defensive?
  • Do I interrupt?
  • Am I aware of what body language I am demonstrating?
  • Do I avoid eye contact?

What could you do to manage some of these bad habits and strengthen your relationships as a result?

2)   Schedule Time To Build Relationships.

Relationships need TLC just like everything else. Try this exercise…

Write down your top 8 Relationships?


What specific strategies could you undertake each week to enhance the relationship you have with that person?

(Ideas – spend more time, get to know a personal interest, discover their strengths, just listen (don’t talk), invite them for a coffee, find out if you have any similar interests)

3)   Avoid Gossiping

No more need to be said. Just don’t do it!!

You know how much it hurts when the gossip is about you. So why inflict that on others.

4)   Practice Forgiveness.

I know that sometimes people just plain and simple piss us off. And a lot of the time, we tend to hold a grudge and end up not talking to this colleague for days, even weeks.

But you know what… it’s just plain exhausting and draining to keep this up.

So how can we practice forgiveness?

Now don’t confuse forgiveness with forgive and forget. Forgiveness just means we no longer feel resentment and anger toward the other person. In other words, we let go of the emotion. Try this forgiveness exercise

1.   Write a paragraph on your view

2.   Write a paragraph on the other persons view

3.   Write a paragraph as an observer (fly on the wall)

I did this exercise with a client recently and she recognised with a laugh that “the fly on the wall didn’t really give a shit…. So why do I?”

5)   Flex Your Style.

Self-Awareness is one of the cornerstones of Emotional Intelligence. So ask yourself, do you have a clear idea of your communication and behavioural style? Do you have a clear understanding of your colleague’s communication and behavioural style? Now do you “flex” your style to fit the person you are communicating with? Are you speaking with someone who is quite analytical and therefore wants details? Are you speaking with someone who is people oriented and likes to explore ideas with lots of discussion? Or are you speaking with someone who is very efficiency oriented and just wants the facts?

6)   Own Your Issue

If you have an issue with someone you work with, own it and stay above the line and embrace opportunities, possibilities and solutions. Rather than say… “This is all too hard”, ask yourself…. “How could I make it easier?”

Want to know more about improving work place relationships? Send me an email at michelle@bakjacconsulting.com to enquire about training and coaching to build strategies to enhance work place relationships.

Michelle Bakjac is an experienced Psychologist, Organisational Consultant, Coach, Speaker and Facilitator. As Director of Bakjac Consulting, she is a credentialed Coach with the International Coach Federation (ICF) and a member of Mental Toughness Partners and an MTQ48 accredited Mental Toughness practitioner.  Michelle assists individuals and organisations to develop their Mental Toughness to improve performance, leadership, behaviour and wellbeing.  You can find her at www.bakjacconsulting.com or michelle@bakjacconsulting.com