Use the festive season to strengthen relationships

It’s true to say that people who have strong relationships at work, are more engaged in the work they do. We are social creatures, so of course if we work in an environment where we have friendships and positive working relationships, the happier and more productive we’re going to be.

If you are in a leadership role, having a team who get along and have strong working relationships means they are more likely to enjoy their work, work well as a team and generally be more productive and creative. Additionally, when relationships are strong, there is less time spent on fixing issues and problems, and more time spent on working together towards opportunities. It’s so important to develop and nurture a work culture where positive working relationships are encouraged.

With the holiday season approaching, there’s no better time of year to take your working relationships to a deeper level. Embrace the festive season and use it as an opportunity to build stronger, multidimensional relationships and make enlightened human connections with those you work with.

What defines a good relationship amongst work colleagues?

There are a few crucial characteristics that define strong, healthy and positive working relationships;

  1. Great communication – whether it is face-to-face, phone or email, we communicate all day with the people we work with. Open and honest communication where individuals are not afraid to be accountable is key.
  2. Respect – having respect for each other is very important. Good relationships are defined by a solid mutual respect of one another so when there are differences of opinions, each person is treated with respect to work towards the best outcome.
  3. Trust – Of course this is the foundation of a strong relationship. Trusting your team empowers you, the individual and your team. If people can trust you, they will feel more accountable and have the freedom to be open and honest about things.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year – to build deeper connections

It’s the time of year where, with any luck, people will be mentally winding down and looking forward to some well-deserved time off. It’s a great opportunity to build on your relationships with your team and develop new connections with other key stakeholders. Getting out of the work setting shifts the energy and gives everyone the chance to let their guard down a little, be more real and get to know one another. This will require some vulnerability and effort on your part but talking to people in a relaxed and festive social setting is a fast way to build positive connections. Here are some are four ways to deepen your work relationships in a fun way:

  1. Strengthen the connection with your team
    First rule of the Christmas party: Don’t talk about work. Use the opportunity to allow your relationships to become deeper and more meaningful. Your team will appreciate the time you take to get to know them on a personal level. Ask about any holiday plans they may have, what they do in their free time, what they are getting their kids for Christmas, and then really listen to them. Make it your aim to learn something new about the personal lives of each person in your team.
  2. Connect with key stakeholders
    One of the biggest benefits of a company-wide event is having the chance to talk to colleagues you don’t normally talk to. Introduce yourself to senior executives or those colleagues that you frequently work with but only by phone or email. By putting a face to a name, you can make the relationship more personal for the future. For colleagues you may only pass briefly in the hallway but don’t work with directly, introduce yourself in the context of a light and festive Christmas event so that if you do work together down the track, you’re instantly more comfortable. Mingling is a great way to find like-minded people, and people within the company you share common interests with.
  3. Let them know the ‘real’ you
    Christmas functions are a great way to show people the ‘real you’. Talk about what you love to do outside of work, about your holiday plans etc. Remember not to bring the conversation back to work and keep the conversation light, fun and positive. Likewise, try to find characteristics and attributes that you respect, admire and enjoy on a personal level with your colleagues in this unique social setting.
  4. Follow up on conversation when you return to work the next day
    If your relationships have been strengthened and connections made, don’t ignore it the next day with a ‘business-as-usual’ approach. Try to continue the deeper connections you made.

So when Christmas work functions come along, stay focussed. Don’t just stand around drinking and whinging about work. Don’t get caught up chatting to a small group of people the whole night to the exclusion of anyone else. Use Christmas gatherings and outings as an opportunity to get to know more people better, build greater rapport and you will reap the rewards of your better connections when you get back to work.

Do you want to book me in for one of my customer workshops with your team next year? Get in quick and get off 2019 to a great start! Get in contact today to arrange a date.

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