Soft skills do matter
A recent article in the CIPD bulletin on the “Best thinking in HR” reports how psychological wellbeing at work is affected by the quality of our interactions with our colleagues. These interactions are often formalised by businesses, for example, setting up mentoring programmes to develop new talent. However the CIPD suggests that we should also take note of how positive informal interactions, i.e. our day-to-day dealings with colleagues, can help employees grow, simply by improving our sense of wellbeing.
Kindness at work
How do businesses start encouraging such informal Interactions? The CIPD article refers to recent research that suggests that those who demonstrate kindness at work, for example by helping someone with a work task, have increased job satisfaction. This positive emotion can also create an upward spiral, as happy people tend to demonstrate more kindness to others. The old maxim, “Treat others as you would like to be treated yourself,” is much more easily applied when we are satisfied at work and see our work in meaningful terms.
Positive relationships for a positive culture
Developing such positive interaction is often at the bottom of the priority list in the workplace as it is seen as a “nice-to-have” rather than an essential. However, we would not question a business initiative that attempts to improve customer service. So why do we feel that interactions within the business are less important? Developing these skills through training can make a significant difference to the environment in which people work, which in turn has an impact on their productivity. In short, good working relationships are the foundations upon which good business culture is built.
5 Ways to improve your day-to-day interactions at work.
Take time to listen.
When employees feel that they have been heard they feel they are valued. How can you listen more at work? Maybe it is about listening carefully to an issue that is causing an employee concern. Or perhaps it is giving the quieter member of the group an opportunity to speak in a meeting (introverts like to think about what they are going to say before they say it, so may need a little more time to speak up).
Be aware of your body language.
When you are interacting with people, what is your body communicating? How can you improve the quality of your interactions? For example, are you making good eye contact? If you need to have a difficult conversation, have it in person so that you can fully listen and understand what the other person is saying and vice-versa. Don’t let e-mail rob you of the quality body language can add to your interaction.
Try and put yourself in the other person’s shoes. Show empathy when someone is stressed or not coping by attempting to recognise and understand what is causing the stressful situation. Show your support for them by taking time to listen to the issue, acknowledge their concerns and explore practical ways for support.
Empower staff through delegation.
When people have control over the work that they do they feel less stressed. By delegating responsibility and acknowledging when others have done well, you will increase the sense of self-belief and encourage them to take control in the work they do.
Martin Seligman, a leading psychologist in positive psychology, suggests that counting the acts of kindness you do for others and expressing gratitude for what others have done for you will increase your sense of wellbeing. Why not take 5 minutes on your journey home to think about what kindnesses have been exchanged in your office during the day.
Our Invitation to you.
I invite you over the next five days to choose and practise one of these ways to improve your working relationships and see impact that has on you and your colleagues.
Management Development Programme (MDP)
At Namasté Culture, our twelve month MDP is designed to develop the skills required to build effective relationships at work. The extended programme aims to form positive working behaviours and embed these new habits back in the workplace. To enable this we create an atmosphere of trust in the sessions, which allows trainees to feel confident to share their issues and views. Having a support network is an important part of growth. One previous MDP attendee said, “Peer feedback was a very powerful tool in learning and provides you with a toolbox to take back into your management routine at work”. If newly formed relationships can have this power, just imagine what can happen if we improve the already established ones back in the workplace.
If you are interested in our MDP or other training that Namasté Culture offers, please call Helen on 01954 267640 or e-mail email@example.com.
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