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Via The Seattle Times : A mini-guide to making friends at work

Working with people you can call friends is wonderful.

For one thing, your daily labor is lots more fun. You may also be inspired to greater engagement and creativity, which could be good for your career. You may even willingly put in longer hours, which is also good for your career.

Most of all, work colleagues — the only people who truly “get” what you do all day — can keep you sane, watch your back, act as sounding boards and sometimes make a terrible job bearable.

You will therefore want to make and keep strong, positive relationships at work.

It starts with simply introducing yourself, learning people’s names and participating in a certain amount of small talk. Hate small talk? Well, it’s the lubricating oil of human relationships so you’d be wise to become proficient at it. Everyone can master this skill.

More tips: If your employer is large enough or organized enough to sponsor groups (like a basketball team or book club), join the one that interests you most. Or start one. Occasionally invite co-workers out for coffee or even lunch.

Please don’t skip the annual company picnic or holiday party. Always look for ways to do small favors or random acts of kindness. Be inclusive (i.e., avoid cliques). Seek out common ground by asking open-ended questions and really listening to the answers.

It sounds like a lot but you don’t have to do all of these things, or even most of them. Human friendships tend to form naturally as the result of prolonged togetherness. So relax, remembering to select your at-work friends wisely, just as you do the private-life ones, steering clear of the conniving, the false and the untrustworthy.

At the same time, set good boundaries. Don’t share information about yourself that could later be used against you — because work friendships are not really like other friendships. They may feel like the real thing, but most of the time they’re no more than relationships of convenience, based on proximity and mutual self-interest. When the job ends, the job friendships usually fade away.

Not always, of course. Sometimes the buddy you make at work turns into a treasured lifelong confidant. In general, though, just focus on enjoying every friendship as long as it lasts.

Via Human Resources Director : Does technology help or hinder workplace relationships?

It goes without saying that technology has revolutionised both the way we work and the way we communicate forever – but is it really a change for the better?

Leadership and people management specialist Karen Gately said digital may have made communicating across teams a little easier, but it also has the potential to undermine workplace culture.

“I think technology is one of the biggest obstacles to building healthy relationships,” Gately told HRD.

“People become keyboard warriors and we just sit at our desks and have arguments and try and resolve problems through technology.”

Gately said technology gives many employees a sense of detachment which means they’re often less rational when communicating online.

“People will often say things that they otherwise wouldn’t and they’ll say things in ways that they might not choose to say them if they were actually sitting in front of the person having the interaction,” she said.

“The other reality with our digital world is that everything moves really quickly and we can fail to stop and really appreciate certain moments or to bring people together to have a meaningful connection – whether it be through celebrating successes or learning as a team. If we try to do things by digital means too much, we miss the opportunity to foster those relationships and learn from our experiences.”

Of course, Gately doesn’t for a moment suggest abandoning digital communication – it’s integral to the success of many teams, particularly those which are geographically dispersed. But she does say HR can take measures to stop it sabotaging company culture.

“Communication is fundamental to an organisation’s ability to thrive and the quality of communication is fundamental so we need to enable organisations to be more effective in the way they communicate,” said Gately.

“A big part of that is the face-to-face interaction and it’s the relationship-building so HR needs to play a role in helping organisations to get better at the way they not only share information but the way they explore ideas, the way the make decisions and the way they build relationships.

Gately added that leaders need to think beyond just communication in terms of the staff newsletter or updates around appointments or new client wins – instead they need to think about communication as a core capability that links the potential of the business to performance.

Via The National : Workplace doctor: How to handle personal relationships in a professional environment

Managers have to be clear about job expectations and consequences if performance is negatively impacted for any reason.

I am the manager of a large team of salespeople at a major outlet in Dubai. Recently, I have become aware of a relationship between two members that seems to be impacting their work. While I do not want to ban them from having a relationship – they have until recently both been exemplary members of staff. How do I resolve this delicate issue?

JT, Dubai

Although personal relationships may be viewed differently by different people, generations, religions and cultures, consideration should be given to what is seen to be both respectful and lawful of the local culture and religion where one resides.

Internationally, it is estimated that nearly 40 per cent of people have dated a co-worker and that up to one third of these work relationships have resulted in marriage. Alarming statistics for some, and given that the line between professional and personal lives are becoming thinner, maybe not that surprising for others. Given that we spend, on average, one third of our lives at work whilst working longer hours than ever before, it may be understandable that work is increasingly becoming the primary social environment that many find themselves in.

Traditionally, relationships at work have been frowned upon for various reasons. Many take the view that the workplace is a professional environment where it is important to maintain professionalism at all times. This is particularly relevant to work relationships, as they can be a real distraction not only for the parties involved, but also for their co-workers. Other than potentially affecting productivity, work relationships can cause additional strain, embarrassment and perceptions of favouritism or discrimination.

Depending on who is involved, workplace relationships can change the dynamics of an entire organisation. At the very least, they tend to generate excessive gossip and can complicate important collaboration and trust, necessary for effective teams and cross functional relations. It can also affect decision making, where the involved parties are likely to put each other’s needs before that of the company. Furthermore, work relationships are not limited to co-workers and can impact relations with vendors, competitors or other external stakeholders.

From a different perspective, experts have more recently found that workplace friendships are good for employees and as such, for organisations. This is especially true for Generation Y, who value working with like-minded people that they get on well with. Friendships at work can increase productivity and reduce employee turnover.

According to a 2013 survey in Australia, good relationships with co-workers were more motivating for people to stay in their current job (67 per cent) compared to job satisfaction (63 per cent) and surprisingly, their salary (46 per cent). A workplace is a community, and a closeness amongst staff members can be a competitive advantage for an organisation.

Although, personal relationships are more complicated, they can be viewed in much the same way. Rather than resisting the phenomena, employers are best placed to have a clear policy that governs personal relationships at work. The focus should be on creating a positive work environment for all. Employees must not allow a personal relationship to influence their conduct at work.

Be clear about job expectations and consequences if performance is negatively impacted for any reason. It is also best to have a rule that prohibits an employee from supervising a person they are in a relationship with. Include a requirement to disclose any relationship that may give rise to a conflict of interest.

How may you handle this situation going forward? As you and others have noticed behavioural changes, it is time to address the situation with these individuals. You mention that they have both been exemplary members of staff until recently, so appeal to their professionalism at work.

Communicate your concerns that their personal actions are causing professional issues. Specify that personal lives should be conducted outside of the workplace, and that romantic gestures are not appropriate at work. Help them to establish some boundaries – for instance, not to spend too much time on their own, agreeing not to use terms of endearment, or be seen to make physical contact with each other.

Doctor’s Prescription:

Maintain an atmosphere of trust by respecting their right to a private life, whilst ensuring your right to protect the interests of the business and fellow staff members. Residing in the UAE, they also need to be aware of the laws of the country and respectful of the local culture and customs regarding all forms of relationships.

Via The HR Digest : 3 HIGHLY EFFECTIVE WAYS TO DEAL WITH A CHRONIC COMPLAINER AT WORK

My coworker in the next cube over is a classic case of a chronic complainer at the workplace. I used to be friends but over the years I have distanced myself from him because I cannot deal with the toxicity anymore. You cannot bother to say ‘Hi!’ or ‘Good Morning,’ because you never get a happy response from him. He won’t be talking to anyone, just sighing, acting all pissed off and mumbling complaints in the air. If you do ever talk to him, prepare to hear what’s wrong with his manager, colleagues, and the workplace all at once. He never has anything positive to say.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the rest of my coworkers like family but this guy just rubs me off the wrong way. There is so much whining coming from a grown man that sometimes (umm… usually) I have a hard time feeling bad for him. Lately, I’ve just been saying, “I don’t know what to say,” when he complains to me about something.

Best Ways to Deal with Chronic Complainers at Work

Working around a chronic complainer can be really off putting. Secondly, dealing with chronic complainers is no small feat. Nothing pleases them and nothing escapes the critic’s eyes. Complainers at work manage to find fault in management’s every email, implicitly suggesting the people in charge lack intelligence and common sense.

Psychological research suggests deeper issues at work, such as an unfulfilling life at home. This makes them seek out to other people for emotional validation, and more often than not, they fail to realize they’re being overly critical of things and people around them.

So, how can you effectively deal with chronic complainers at work? We know how, follow our plan:

REDIRECT THE PERSPECTIVE

This tactic is used by politicians and actors, and it works! When you’re having a difficult conversation with a constant complainer at work, subtly change the subject by acknowledging their say on the matter, and then move on to another one.

Of course, this tactic isn’t going to take you anywhere with the individual. At any cost, do not allow the individual to poison the team.

ASK FOR SOLUTIONS

When you hear the constant whiner at work share his gripe, press him for a solution. Ask questions such as: “How do you suggest we solve this problem?” or “What would you do so this doesn’t happen again?” At any cost, do not offer solutions. They’re wired to whine out of any situation and will disagree with your ideas. It’s best you make them come up with their own solutions.

CALL IT OUT

Offer food for thought and call them out on their behavior. Make it clear that things aren’t going to change if they continue to indulge in chronic complaining. They need to decide whether they can be happy in their jobs because simply complaining about everything is not a solution.

In the end, it is your job to address the behavioral problems. You need to create a culture of accountability and ensure everyone meets the standards of the organization. Hire the right kind of people and fire those who infect the workplace culture by poisoning and creating doubt in the minds of other employees.

via Bustle : 11 Things everyone does wrong at work without realizing it

Most of us get through the workday without too many issues. We send our emails, manage our teams, brew our coffees, and remember to attach all our TPS reports. And yet, there are still things everyone does wrong at work without realizing it, thus causing problems, delaying successes, and making things way more difficult than they need to be.

Whether it’s getting caught up in some seemingly harmless office gossip, or failing to promote yourself and all your great ideas, it’s important to know how and when you might be doing something wrong. Not only will it make for an easier day, but recognizing these issues can put you on the track for things like promotions and raises.

So go ahead and reevaluate your work self. Are you being professional, promoting yourself, and pitching in? As author and career expert Dr. Heather Rothbauer-Wanish says, “Understanding the impression you give at work is vitally important. When you demonstrate professionalism at all times — especially during challenges — you will be furthering your career goals. In addition, it is this type of impression that will allow you to secure a positive reference for future employment opportunities.” Read on for some little things you might be doing wrong that could compromise your success.

1. Oversharing All That Personal Info

It’s easy to get comfy at work and start spilling the beans about your relationship, your health, and everything in between. But the office isn’t exactly the time or the place. “Although it is important to build relationships with your peers, oversharing information to the wrong person may negatively affect how the rest of the office views you,” says Ian Siegel, CEO of the career website ZipRecruiter.com. Unless you’re talking to your work BFF, it’s always better to err on the side of caution and keep private details to yourself.

2. Never Talking About Your Successes

If you just did something incredible at work, don’t make the mistake of keeping it to yourself. “Many people do not promote themselves at work or advocate for what they want,” says workplace expert Heather Monahan, in an email to Bustle. “It is critical to let others know about your successes so they can further support you and realize your skills and talents.”

3. Complaining To The Wrong People

If you’re having a tough day at work, it can be tempting to complain to your coworkers. And while it’s completely OK to do in moderation, don’t expect it to solve any problems. “If there is an issue with a manager, coworker, or a policy/ procedure, go to that person or the department (HR) that has the power to solve it,” says personal development coach Stacy Roberts.

4. Not Completing Menial Tasks

Yes, it’s a pain to replace the printer paper. And yet, being “that person” who fails to help with little things can lead to problems. “To managers, it can give the impression that you are not willing to pitch in to help the team out or do not respect them,” says leadership expert Ash Norton, founder of AshNorton.com.  And that’s not good.

5. Trying Too Hard To Fit In

If you’re new to a job or kind of shy, it can be tempting to fly under the radar and keep your head down ’til 5 p.m. But this is actually a pretty big mistake. “Instead, [you should] use your uniqueness to your advantage,” says Norton. Share your ideas in a meeting, or suggest a new way of doing things. It never hurts to be yourself and share your creativity.

6. Taking Over The Office Kitchen

Don’t be the person in the office who takes over the kitchen. And while you’re at it, remember it’s always a good idea to be considerate of coworkers when heating up last night’s fish. As leadership coach and business owner Elizabeth McCourt says, “I used to have a boss who would bring leftover fish and microwave it, stinking up the entire office.” So funny, but also so gross.

7. Gossiping With Work Friends

While it can be incredibly tempting to get chatty with coworkers, nothing good ever comes from telling secrets around the water cooler. As Roberts says, “Workplace gossip and complaining will destroy productivity and morale.” It can come back to bite you, make you look bad, and (worst of all) hurt people’s feelings.

8. Leaving Super Long Voicemails

Whether you’re trying to look busy, or just aren’t thinking about it, beware the horror that is leaving super long voicemails. “It is best to get to the point quickly and request a meeting or ask if further information is needed,” says Monahan. “No one has time these days to sit and read War & Peace.”

9. Holding Your Breath

It’s easy to forget to breathe when dealing with millions of emails, so take a second to check in with yourself. If you aren’t taking full breaths, try this technique. “Sit as tall as you can … Look outward … Breathe in through your nose filling up the lungs as much as you can and then actively force the air out of the mouth with pursed lips (not a wide open mouth),” says functional fitness expert Alessa Caridi. That should help you better deal with all that workplace pressure.

10. Waiting Around For Instructions

Whatever you do, don’t sit around waiting to be managed. “This includes waiting to be asked to do something, having idle time and not speaking up, and generally not being proactive,” says Ben Brooks, founder and CEO of the tech startup PILOT. If you do the right thing and take some initiative, I promise everyone will be super impressed.

11. Making Excuses If You Screw Up

Nothing’s worse than making a mistake at work. In fact, it can be so scary that you might find yourself covering it up or making excuses. While understandable, this often only makes things worse. That’s why, as Roberts tells me, it’s much better to acknowledge the issue and improve it. Your boss will appreciate it, and you’ll be setting a good example for everyone else.

If you keep these things in mind, you should get through the work day unscathed. And maybe even impress a few people along the way.

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