Proven practices to build effective relationships at work – Part 1

Presented by Rosh Khan, MD

How often do you work with people who seem to really get under your skin? Maybe your co-worker who complains about everything. Or it’s your customer who insists on unrealistic demands. Perhaps it’s a team member who continually drops the ball or your controlling, micromanaging boss.
When confronted with people like this, your first reaction would be to blame and insist that someone (other than you) needs to change. “Can’t you just get over it?”; “When will you stop talking and start listening?”; “Why can’t you be more responsible?”;  “Things would be so much easier if you weren’t so controlling, or demanding, or temperamental, or arrogant, or impatient, or disorganised, or __________ .” (Fill in the blank with the personality trait that irritates you the most.)
Think of all the time and effort you’ve spent trying to fix other people. Has it worked? While we’d like to believe we’re successful at changing others, we’re usually not. An “outside-in” approach to changing others is a futile investment that yields little to no return. We must first focus on ourselves.
Over the next articles, we’ll discuss proven practices that will help you build effective relationships at work. Here are the first two:

Carry your own weather
When we allow darkening clouds to dictate our mood, it’s easy to feel like a victim and surrender to the belief that we’re helplessly subject to the external world. At the foundation of carrying your own weather is the ability to pause between stimulus and response. The earliest humans learnt “fight or flight” as a way of reacting to life-threatening situations. Our stresses now come in different, less life-threatening forms.
As human beings, we share the unique trait of self-awareness – the ability to see and evaluate our own thoughts. It gives us the capability to pause, step back and see ourselves along with the paradigms we adopt and use. The next time something happens, remember that you are in control of your response. You can maintain the internal sunshine although dark clouds surround you.

Behave your way to credibility
It’s easy to say others should have credibility. But again, we must look within. Credibility isn’t a label we simply apply to ourselves. We must behave our way to credibility. There are three important elements tot making that happen:
Demonstrate character and competence
Without a high degree of character and competence, credibility can’t flourish. Character isn’t built on being infallible, but by behaving in a way that proves to others you can be trusted even when no one is looking. Many people think strong character can make up for lack of competence, but you can lose credibility if you allow your competence to wane.
Take the long-term view
Credibility isn’t earned overnight. Taking the long-term view means you are willing to pay the price to earn it — regardless of the time and effort involved. When it comes to building credibility, there’s no escaping time. Transitory actions may build confidence in others, but trust only comes from seeing the consistency of such actions over time.
Adapt to the situation at hand
Building credibility often means adapting to new situations and people. The behaviours you’ve honed in one job context may undermine your credibility in a new role. This ability to observe and reorient oneself is often referred to as situational awareness. Once you’ve damaged your reputation and credibility with someone, the way back can be difficult, and it certainly won’t happen overnight.
Dr Rosh Khan is the CEO of SocialRank Media, Guyana’s leading digital marketing agency, and the President of the Masterclass Institute, Guyana’s approved Covey Leadership Centre.