February is the month of love, and for most of us that means romantic relationships. You probably spent some special time with your partner on Valentine’s Day, or if you’re single, maybe eye-ing someone new or considering what you might want from a romantic relationship. We hope that this was a lovely time for you – whether you connected with a romantic partner or spent time with friends. Love is always beautiful in all ways, shapes and forms.
At Sensory Intelligence Consulting we believe one of the most important relationships in our lives, but one that we rarely focus on, is our relationships with our colleagues. Most of us don’t ever really think about the quality of relationships we have with people at work, or specifically invest in them, like we do in relationships with our loved ones. Here are some facts to consider when thinking of the importance of workplace relationships:
- We spend 8 hours or more a day with our colleagues. This is probably more time than you spend with your family, friends or partner.
- Good workplace relationships are shown to advance careers. They are an indicator of your likelihood of getting a promotion, a positive reference and having colleagues and superiors listen to your ideas and take you seriously.
- If we have good relationships with our colleagues we are more likely to let go of small irritations and overlook their negative traits. This leads to less conflict in the workplace and a more positive environment to work in.
- Loneliness is seen as an epidemic with similar health risks as smoking and obesity. Good workplace relationships can combat loneliness and improve our overall health and well-being.
- Recent studies show healthy workplace environments significantly improve productivity and workplace outcomes.
And the most important point … if you are going to spend so much time with your colleagues…
wouldn’t it be better to just get along?
We believe in the KISS principle (even more so during the month of love!), in other words, Keep It So Simple. We love making things practical and easy to understand. Building good relationships with your colleagues doesn’t have to take tons of extra time and energy – we know you’re busy 😊. So we decided to share our NUMBER ONE TOP TIP to improve workplace relationships:
STOP, LOOK and LISTEN when you communicate.
Let’s elaborate on these concepts:
- STOP – When you communicate with a colleague, put down everything else. Don’t multi-task while trying to communicate effectively. Put away technology and other distractions. Even though Skype and email can make things quicker and easier, still make time for face to face connection on a regular basis.
- LOOK – make eye contact. 90% of communication is body-language. If we make eye contact and really focus on the person’s expression, tone of voice and other cues their body is giving us, we will understand them much better.
- LISTEN – Open your ears and your heart to what the person is saying. Don’t just listen to solve problems or answer back. Don’t even think of a response yet. Just listen.
Stop, look and listen is the 101 of good communication and can vastly improve workplace relationships. When people communicate better and really feel connected and heard, everything else goes smoother. We also use most of our senses when we stop, look and listen, so we are not only connecting on a cognitive level, but also on a sensory and bodily level.
Are workplace relationships a problem at your company? Why not let us come in and do a bespoke, custom-made workshop for you to address this problem. Give us a call on 061 523 6323 or send us an email with your specific requirements.
Written by Karlien Terblanche, a specialist facilitator with Sensory Intelligence® Consulting, with a special focus on adults and corporate groups. She holds a Master’s degree in Occupational Therapy from the University of Stellenbosch and specialises in the field of mental health. She has extensive experience in the area of sensory integration in adults and is currently exploring sensory mindfulness as a preventative strategy in mental health and wellness. She is passionate about working with both individual clients and groups and aims to guide her clients to reach their full potential. She fully believes every person can become the hero of their own story.