Whether you are a CEO or entry-level employee, getting along with others is paramount to success and your career is no exception to this rule. While tenacity, hard work, intelligence and making the right decisions are all significant factors in the equation to achievement, interpersonal relationships can either make an individual’s career manageable and more lucrative or set up unnecessary barriers to getting what you desire.
Officemates from ShutterstockUnderstand that winning anyone to your way to thinking is an art, and that win doesn’t happen overnight nor is it easy. Rather, building cohesive professional relationships and becoming more persuasive takes practice and patience, and can prove especially trying when there are burdensome co-workers in the equation.
Recognizing the importance that agreeable relationships hold in one’s job is just the first step – executing is the second. While all workplace situations and human beings are unique, there are some universal ways to ensure that you increase the trust level, cooperation, friendliness and effectiveness of those around you at the office. Here are some ways to do so:
1. A 2nd Perspective is the 1st Step – Success in dealing with people, both in business and in life, hinges on your ability to get the other party’s point of view on a given situation and to act accordingly. A co-worker of yours whom you might perceive as “difficult” may be intimidated, angry or aloof.
Contrary to popular belief, confrontation is not an effective tactic and should be avoided at all costs. Instead, put yourself in your co-worker’s shoes and determine how you would feel and behave if you were in their position. Though simplistic, you may find the 2 minute exercise to yield long-lasting insight.
When doing so, remember to always keep an open mind and free yourself of any prior prejudice that you have towards the person or people. Often, our best ideas come to us when we reflect from an alternative POV.
2. Appreciation, Respect and Praise Beat Confrontation – Make a point to praise and avoid condemnation. Telling someone they are “wrong” is the most ineffective way to get them to do right. Regardless of how mistaken they have been, your co-workers have what they think of as logical reasons for their actions. Being confrontational is a great way to make long-lasting enemies and build resentment within the office.
Rather, if you want to persuade even the most intractable, play to the individuals’ needs for importance and appreciation. Where confrontation doesn’t work, sincere flattery makes all the difference.
Instead of put downs, focus on being grateful for what your colleagues have done right. Without exception, everyone likes to have their confidence raised; it’s a universal human desire.
By vocalizing sincere approval and building up their self-esteem, you make these peers more agreeable to assisting you in your endeavors. Know that even the smallest traces of gratitude will yield some of the biggest professional alliances you will have in your career.
3. Think Pros and Cons, Benefits and Disadvantages – Whether or not they achieve the desired results, the majority of decisions that your co-workers make are geared towards them obtaining something they want. Determining how you can deliver their desired results will be paramount to your persuasion efforts, as you can’t bait a fish with an empty hook.
To persuade and build better relationships, it is imperative that you reflect upon the situation from their perspective and determine what advantages your co-workers will see from taking action a, b or c.
When approaching others, understand that people like to feel that they are buying rather than being sold. Think mutual gain and be sincere and honest when conveying a desired action’s benefits. When we think in terms of advantages and disadvantages rather than satisfying our own needs, we recognize tremendous results.
4. Interest Them by Being Interested – If you want your co-workers to be interested in you, begin by taking an interest in them. People are only going to do what you want when and only when they believe you have a vested interest in them.
Start to think of your co-workers as people rather than considering them as means to an end. What are their likes, dislikes, history and perceived future? Listen rather than talk; always smile and act enthused.
Ask your fellow employees questions about themselves and put yourself out to do things for co-workers which require time, energy and selfless thinking. Sincere interest is the foundation of a great relationship, as when we take an authentic, sincere liking to people, they begin to like us.
In the End
The most successful people know how to deal with all types of personalities at all different levels of business. Drive and intelligence come up short without the cooperation of others. Your most difficult co-workers can become your most important professional alliances if you approach them correctly.
Ken Sundheim is the CEO of KAS Placement sales recruiters, a sales and marketing recruitment agency specializing in helping job seekers further their careers through finding them challenging and rewarding positions at progressive, visionary and growing organizations.
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