Building Better Working Relationships

Humans are naturally social creatures – we crave friendship and positive interactions, just as we do food and water. So it makes sense that the better our relationships are at work, the happier and more productive we’re going to be.
Good working relationships give us several other benefits. Our work is more enjoyable when we have good relationships with those around us. Good relationships give us freedom from spending our time and energy overcoming the problems associated with negative relationships. Most importantly, successful working relationships are criterial to crew resource management and thus safety.

So what are the characteristics that make up good, healthy working relationships?
  • Trust – This is the foundation of every good relationship. When you trust co-workers, you form a powerful bond that helps you to work and communicate more effectively. If you trust the people you work with, you can be open and honest in your thoughts and actions, and you don’t have to waste time and energy “watching your back.”
  • Mutual Respect – When you respect the people who you work with, you value their input and ideas, and they value yours. Working together, you can develop solutions based on your collective insight, wisdom and creativity.
  • Mindfulness – This means taking responsibility for your words and actions. Those who are mindful are careful and attend to what they say, and they don’t let their own negative emotions impact the people around them. They are conscious communicators.
  • Welcoming Diversity – People with good relationships not only accept diverse people and opinions, but they welcome them. For instance, when your flying partners offer different opinions from yours, you take the time to consider what they have to say, and factor their insights into your decision-making.
  • Open Communication – We communicate all day, whether we’re sending emails and IMs, or meeting face to face. The better and more effectively you communicate with those around you, the richer your relationships will be. All good relationships depend on open, honest communication.
So, what can you do to build better relationships at work?
  • Develop Your People Skills – Good relationships start with good people skills including how well you collaborate, communicate and deal with conflict.
  • Identify Your Relationship Needs – Look at your own relationship needs. Do you know what you need from others? And do you know what they need from you? Understanding these needs can be instrumental in building better relationships.
  • Schedule Time to Build Relationships – Devote a portion of your flying day toward relationship building, even if it’s just in minute increments. Small and even routine interactions help build the foundation of good relationships.
  • Focus on Your EI – Spend time developing your emotional intelligence (EI). Among other things, this is your ability to recognize your own emotions, and clearly understand what they’re telling you. High EI also helps you to understand the emotions and needs of others.
  • Appreciate Others – Show your appreciation whenever someone helps you. Everyone wants to feel that their work is appreciated. So, genuinely compliment the people around you when they do something well. This will open the door to great work relationships.
  • Be Positive – Focus on being positive which is both attractive and contagious. It will help strengthen your relationships with your flying partners. No one wants to be around someone who’s negative all the time.
  • Avoid Gossiping – Don’t gossip. Gossip is a major relationship killer at work. If you’re experiencing conflict with someone in your group, talk to them directly about the problem. Gossiping about the situation with others will only exacerbate the situation, and will cause mistrust and animosity between you.
  • Stretch Yourself – Occasionally, you’ll have to work with someone you don’t like or someone that you simply can’t relate to. But, for the sake of your comfort and everyone’s safety, it’s essential that you maintain a professional relationship. When this happens, make an effort to get to know the person. It’s likely that the person knows full well that the two of you aren’t on the best terms, so make the first move to improve the relationship by engaging in positive exchanges. While you’re talking, try not to be too guarded. Ask the person about their background and interests. Instead of putting energy into your differences, focus on finding things that you have in common. Just remember – not all relationships will be great; but you can make sure that they are, at least, workable!

From your AFA EAP: 800-424-2406

Building Better Working Relationships

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