A workforce consists of a group of people, often with very different backgrounds and needs, trying to achieve a goal under pressure to succeed. These workers are invested in their jobs for vocational, emotional, and financial reasons and are together for most of their waking hours. No wonder that things can be a little bit volatile sometimes. There is a reason so many soap operas and sitcoms are set in the workplace.
Here at Lavandi Talent, we believe it’s more than important that positive working relationships are fostered and maintained, and it is vital if a business is to survive and thrive. Difficult working relationships can be a major factor when it comes to workplace stress, and unless they are addressed, they can lead to lowered productivity, high staff turnover and even health issues amongst the team. Keeping positive relationships is not something that should really be left to chance, and unfortunately, even the most reasonable of people occasionally need a little nudge in the right direction.
POSITIVITY LEADS TO ENGAGEMENT
Employee engagement is intimately linked with a positive and supportive working environment. This is hardly a surprise because we all know what it is like to spend time in a negative, uncomfortable space with people who are not getting along. That feeling stretched out over a long period of time is bound to reduce engagement and not just for those at the centre of the problem but also for everyone around them. So how do you foster positive relationships?
We are all in this together.
Despite the pressure and stresses the workplace can bring, it is important for all the team to recognise that everyone is working toward the same goal. They all work for the same company, and their working lives are tied up with the success of the business. Clear employer branding and regular communication of the objectives of the business will help reinforce the ‘togetherness’ of the workforce.
Mediation must happen.
The sooner a situation is dealt with, the better. Most people are prepared to compromise, and very few of us are argumentative and combative by nature. Finding agreement and resolving grievances must be the first goal in any difficult situation. If a common ground cannot be found, then there may need to be a more serious and official HR response. In most cases, however, a working solution can usually be found through mediation.
Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion should be more than a target.
If the workplace is welcoming to everyone, it creates an open environment where grievances are discussed and resolved. If you have pockets of the workforce who feel isolated or removed from the rest, then resentments build, and responses become disproportionate.
Less gossip, more talking.
Gossip, as the old saying goes, comes from the Devils workshop. It is destructive and results in isolation and resentment. Some businesses have seen great results by training the team in effective people skills and emotional intelligence. These tend to be the enemy of gossip and lead to open discussion of situations rather than whispers and judgements.
Lead from the front and remember that managers that actively listen will hear much more than those that talk.
There is a real skill in being able to listen and understand. Positivity and collaboration can both be spread by example, so it’s important that managers and supervisory team members promote positivity and are able to genuinely listen to problems so they can seek a solution.
Work and play together.
Social interaction is a very different scenario to the workplace and tends to allow us to see a different side to our co-workers. Social activities do not need to be big events, though. In fact, there is a lot to be said for informal time spent in the lunchroom together and similar.
Individuals make a difference.
Identifying and resolving negativity in one person will ripple out and resolve it in many others. Groups often become negative from one source, and that person can take a sort of alpha position. Solve that issue, and you may well solve a wider one.
If you have ever worked somewhere that was gradually sliding into toxicity because conflicts and negativity were not being addressed, then you will have experienced first-hand just how unpleasant it is. Negativity is not just unpleasant, though; it is corrosive and eventually highly destructive if it is not addressed.