Having good relationships among colleagues is vital to organizational and individual success. Friendships among coworkers lead to greater job satisfaction and increased productivity, but they should be kept casual rather than close. When coworkers become “best” friends, problems can arise and job performance may be affected.
Here are some suggestions for keeping workplace friendships professional and productive.
Follow the “one-year” rule. That is, go slowly in letting the business acquaintance become a friendship. Allow yourself time in getting to know your coworkers. First impressions may be lasting, but they are not always the most accurate.
If someone seems overly friendly or inquisitive, be careful. When other people seem overly interested in personal details or business affairs, think twice before you answer all their questions. Revealing too much too soon can make you vulnerable. Once you’ve shared information, you cannot take it back.
Test your new friends with low risk confidences. If you hear your private comments being repeated to others, the lesson should be clear. Until you have a strong level of trust, hold back on revealing anything that you don’t want the entire office to know.
Always keep in mind that any kind of gossip should be avoided in the workplace. That means not spreading personal information about your coworkers or passing along organizational rumors.Small talk in the office is good for relationships as long as the subjects are appropriate. It is a good idea to steer clear of anything that is personal or speculative. If the company is talking about cutting costs, that doesn’t mean lost jobs until you hear it from the top.
Be friendly, be kind, be courteous, but be professional. Keeping your personal friendships outside the office is just good business.
If you have ever had an office friendship become a problem, I’d love to hear about your experience and how you handled it.
Hire Lydia to work with your staff to improve customer service and employee relations through the use of those priceless and often over-looked soft skills called manners. Lydia is the “unstuffy” business etiquette expert who helps individuals and organizations add the polish that builds profits. We’re talking about your bottom line here.
Since 1996, countless people have benefited from her wisdom through keynotes, seminars and conference breakout sessions. Her Southern charm and sense of humor have made her a sought-after speaker and consultant.
Based in Savannah, Georgia, Lydia is available for national, regional and local speaking and training engagements. She has suitcase; will travel.