How do you build strong, healthy working relationships?
How do you repair working relationships that go a bit sideways?
Working relationships drive a lot of our success on the job. It’s a big part of our career enjoyment. It’s a big part of what makes our jobs miserable.
Our focus is always more enjoyment and less misery.
So let’s talk a bit about how you can change the way you think about your working relationships to help you enjoy them and get the most out of them.
And if you can figure this one out, you will make a huge impact on your career enjoyment in a very short amount of time.
So what makes a ‘good working relationship’?
How do you know if it’s a good relationship? A bad one?
How do you know if you can trust someone, or if they’re on your side?
The answer is you know these things based on how you think about them?
Isn’t the relationship also based on getting to know someone, sharing values, past behaviours, how people treat you etc., etc.?
Aren’t working relationships a two-way street?
Your working relationship with someone exists 100% in the way you think about that person.
For example – your boss could walk into your office, interrupt a meeting you’re having and tell you to come to their office right away – they need to tell you something.
Now you get to decide what to think about that.
You could think, “that was really rude”.
You could think, “wow, there must be an emergency”.
You could think, “they don’t respect me”.
You could think, ”wow this is intriguing”.
You could think, “I’m getting fired”.
You could think any of those things
And further, your attitude and demeanour when you show up is going to be determined by your thinking.
If you think your boss is disrespectful, your approach will be different than if you think there must be an emergency.
The relationship is built up in your own mind.
This is why it’s possible for one person to say, I love working with so and so. And someone else to say I don’t like working with so and so.
That’s why it possible for one person to think they have a close working relationship with someone and the other person to think – meh – ya, it’s an OK relationship.
Well, no one is really RIGHT.
The relationship exists in each person’s own mind.
As adults, we understand that we have a role to play in our relationships with people. We take accountability for how we show up and what we say and do.
But we also seem to think that the other person has a role to play in how we feel about the relationship.
We blame them for how we feel about the relationship. We place the accountability for our feelings and actions on how other people think and feel and act in the relationship.
The problem with that is we can’t control them.
So when they start doing things that don’t work for us, we feel we need to control them and tell them how to behave in a way that works for us.
And of course that never works.
It’s like when I was talking about boundaries a few episodes ago. Lots of people think you set boundaries by telling people how they need to act to make you feel better.
But that never works. People don’t like being told how to behave – they get resentful.
Instead, you set boundaries by telling people how you intend to behave if they do something. For example; if you yell at me in the meeting, I’m going to get up and leave.
You’re not telling the person how they need to behave. You’re telling them how you intend to behave because that’s what you can control.
Telling people how to behave never works.
Not when you’re building relationships with them.
Not when you’re managing them.
Not when you’re married to them.
Trying to control the thoughts, feelings and actions of others never works in a productive way. It will implode eventually.
If you want healthy working relationships, then you start by getting aware of how you think about them.
And in the podcast we go through the three ways we think about working relationships that impact how we show up.
What I think other people think of me
What I think of other people
What I think of me in relation to other people.
Want to hear more?
Check out the full episode.
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