I wish I could say that I have never experienced tension at work, but let’s get real here. Competition, deadlines, hierarchy, and differing interests create complicated and tense relationships at work. The good news is that you have the power to decrease this tension and win people over.
I recently conducted a study to determine what people believe is most critical in achieving success at work. The top 3 areas that people feel they need to improve on are to
- Gain more confidence
- Develop stronger communication skills
- Have better professional relationships
Stronger communication skills and better professional relationship are in the top 3 for a reason. Good working relationships are hard to foster and maintain. So what do you do when some of your relationships are lukewarm at best and full on fridget at worse?
Take your cues from dogs.
That’s right a dog – a man’s best friend. The animals that we love even when they chew our shoes or shed all over our sofa. How do they do it? How do dogs make us willing to put up with 6 am walks in the -5% weather or to shell out $20 per 30mins for an afternoon dog walker?
There are three things dogs do that we can emulate at work to create stronger more trusting positive relationships.
They are always happy to see you
If you own a dog, you can count on coming home to your loyal companion waiting for you by the door, wagging his tail and adoringly looking into your eyes. And it is this welcome that endears you to him over and over again. So, is it so hard for you to smile every time someone walks into your office or pops over to your desk? Is it so difficult to greet your colleagues warmly, making eye contact with a smile at the start of a meeting or in the elevator bank? Try it; a smile will take you far today!
They have high social awareness and empathy for others
Dogs have an incredible ability to pick up on all human emotions such as sadness, stress, excitement and fear. The skill is a natural instinct for them. But guess what? We have this skill too, most of us just don’t exercise it often enough. We are so wrapped up in our feelings, worries, and aspirations that we don’t stop to understand what is driving, motivating or concerning others. If you take the time to assess what a colleague cares about before a meeting, you will be able to see things from their perspective, making your colleague feel understood and heard. And who doesn’t love that?
They actively listen to you
Speaking of feeling heard, dogs are the best listeners! When you are talking to a dog, his eyes are focused on you, his ear is tilted ever so slightly and even though he might be wondering when he is getting his dinner, you feel completely and entirely heard.
I bet you have experienced those annoying moments when you were speaking but feeling completely ignored. It probably annoyed you and made you feel frustrated. If you want to avoid making others feel this way, put away your phone, unglue your eyes from your computer screen and listen.
I encourage you to make at least one of these changes today. You will notice the results immediately. The tension will start to lift, the appreciation will pour in, and you will acquire an ally instead of an enemy.