If you've worked in several offices over the course of your career, you probably know the differences between a workplace in which the relationships are effective and those in which the relationships need improving. In a healthy workplace, colleagues not only get along with their managers, but also with their peers. The key to building this type of positive environment is simple and translates into virtually every type of business.
Trust and Honesty
Trust and honesty go hand-in-hand in any relationship, including those in the workplace. Regardless of whether you run the company or work as an intern, the workplace will be unhealthy if you don't trust those with whom you work and aren't honest with them. When an employee asks a manager for an answer, the manager should answer with honesty; if not, the manager's reputation will likely suffer. Trust and honesty are important in manager-employee relationships and almost always those between peers.
Without effective communication, numerous problems can arise in a workplace. Managers must clearly communicate the company's vision and strategies to employees, and employees must communicate any issues or difficulties in implementing measures to achieve the business's vision. A key to effective communication is to do it in a timely manner; if a manager needs to assign a task to an employee, she should do so as soon as possible to give the employee adequate time to achieve the task.
For a workplace to function effectively, equality must be a cornerstone of the company's principles. Equality in a workplace takes several forms; employers and employees alike must view people of different ages, genders, nationalities and sexual orientations as equal, and when a company hires, it should do so based on the merit of the applicant. Managers must also treat employees equally; if a manager has a friendship with one employee, she must not give that employee preferential treatment.
Conflicts of all sizes occur in workplaces regardless of how effectively they're run, but what separates a successful business from one that is unsuccessful is how the management team deals with the conflict. Many businesses have human resources professionals on staff who are trained to resolve conflicts, whether the conflict relates to an issue between management and staff, harassment in the workplace or a disagreement between peers. An effective HR professional is able to deal with conflicts before they spread and worsen.
- Stanford University: Improving Work Relationships
- Australian Government Comcare: Manage Effective Working Relationships
- The Graham Lowe Group: Healthy Workplace Strategies: Creating Change and Achieving Results
- University of California, San Francisco: Setting Healthy Workplace Boundaries
- British Columbia: What Makes a Healthy Work Environment?
- Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images