Magazine article Work & Family Life

Three Keys to Good Relationships at the Workplace

Magazine article Work & Family Life

Three Keys to Good Relationships at the Workplace

Article excerpt

The ability to relate well to people at the workplace has become critical to success for virtually everyone, as the article about emotional intelligence on this page last month suggested.

Having smooth interactions with others depends on many factors but, clearly, the foundation of constructive connections is being able to relate to people as we would like them to relate to us.

Do these words sound familiar? People from different cultures all over the world have arrived at the same summation of how to relate to others. The Golden Rule is as close to a universal guide to conduct as you'll find. And, as many companies have found, it works wonders in today's complicated world of business.

How does this work?

To gain a clearer understanding of how the Golden Rule applies to work relationships, we asked hundreds of participants in our workshops to list the ways they would like to be treated. We were surprised to find that almost everyone identified the same three qualities-respect, fairness and honesty-as the three main keys to productive work interactions. When we probed for what it means to be fair, honest and respectful in one's relationship, here's what we found.

RESPECT: The kind of respect we're talking about has nothing to do with competence or incompetence. It's not reserved for the deserving. It's what is due to another person simply because he or she is a person.

Certain ways of talking and listening convey disrespect; other ways of communicating show respect. Respect is expressed through nondisparaging communication and by putting others at ease by using good manners.

What people refer to as "good manners" are really cultural norms, or commonly agreed upon ways of relating to one another. Without these basic agreements about interpersonal behaviors, we would be unable to run companies, corporations or any other type of organization.

Having and observing cultural rules makes people feel less vulnerable. This is important because even people with strong egos sometimes feel slighted, left out, put down or rejected. We all know how hurtful and unpleasant these feelings are and how, at the very least, they interfere with business as well as personal relationships.

FAIRNESS: Well-intentioned people may sincerely disagree on what is fair and there's no way to determine what would be absolutely fair in every situation. …

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