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Top 4 Relationship Myths at the Workplace by Sandra Crowe

Top 4 Relationship Myths at the Workplace by Sandra Crowe

  1. Being Nice Always Gets You Ahead- Being nice is great, but if it is perceived as insincere or artificial you will be sniffed out immediately. Instead of niceness focus on listening; the ability to listen will move you further in your relationships than the desire to be liked, which is where being too nice comes from. Also, when niceness is too important you find yourself allowing your boundaries to be violated a bit, because the assessment of niceness is more important that what you really want. For instance, if someone asks, “The conference room is booked during lunch; can we use your office for a meeting?” If you want to seem like a team player, you might say yes, when in fact after you do, you feel terrible because you really wanted to use that time to catch up on a few things. Before you say yes, compromise yourself, or give up something check in and ask “How will I feel if I say yes?” and wait to see what the feeling is before you answer. They will find another place to meet.
  2. Wearing a Suit Everyday Makes You Look Important- Wearing a suit is great, if that’s what your office dictates, but in this more casual work environment, you also want to look approachable, so you may want to vary wearing a suit some days with a casual Friday business look on down days or a mix and match relaxed look for others. The challenge is to look professional without looking stuffy. One HR director told me “I’ve been interviewing auditors lately and I’m actually just slightly suspicious by the ones who are wearing suits. For me it looks too artificial, like they’re trying to hard.” On the other hand, when I’ve got a seminar, I always wear a suit, because it tells the audience I hold the session to be important.
  3. The Organizational Rules are Spoken- When you take on a new job, there are some rules that are very clear (be here at 9am) and others that are not (put all incoming information on the bosses’ chair not her desk). In order to shortcut the learning process watch and observe how people dress, how they speak to each other, and what moves people make to be successful in the organization. See if you can connect with someone early on and ask them to decipher the invisible rules of your organization’s culture.
  4. Working Hard is the Only Thing that Gets You Ahead- Working hard is great, and will certainly help, but really what contributes to this is creating positive relationships at every level in the organization, while you work hard. The way to have good relationships goes back to what is mentioned in the first myth, being able to listen. The more you can ask good questions, listen to what people have to say, find place of overlap in your interest, the more you will be able to have the connections, the dynamics, the interactions, and ultimately the success you’re looking for.

Sandra Crowe is a speaker, trainer, coach and author of Since Strangling Isn’t an Option…(Perigee ’99) and has been using her awareness building skills to assist government employees with their difficult people, team building,and leadership problems since 1988. She has a new book coming out this spring called I Didn’t Sign Up for This!: 7 Strategies for Dealing With Difficulty in Difficult Times and can be contacted at [email protected] or her website www.pivpoint.com

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Scott Horvath

These are great tips Sandra. However, I’ve just recently started making the transition from the “do-er” to the supervisor. That move, as I’m quickly learning, can be a time consuming and difficult shift. Granted, I expected that to happen but it’s still hard to manage. I bring this up because that “listening” part, although very critical, is also the part that often gets left on the back burner. I’m, personally, trying harder to listen better. However that decades-old saying, “Do more with less,” has made doing a priority over listening. As you’re making your way up through the ranks of government or in private industry, the work culture is not built on a base of listening…it’s built on a base of doing.

I agree that listening is the key to success much like communication between spouses is the key to a marriage. But a work ethic based on “do more with less” can often overshadow our ability to listen in our future careers. Perhaps changing the work culture is the first key to success. I’m not saying “be lazy” with your work, but rather grow the two together rather than placing emphasis on one over the other.

Thanks for the great post!