I see more careers damaged through faulty human relations skills than through a lack of technical ability. Many people are technically smart, but human relations dumb, because they seem unaware that simply knowing how to do a job is not the key to success. To produce results, most of us depend on others and this requires knowing how to work with people. Before this can be done successfully, there are many human relations skills to be learned and practiced.
Some people think too little of human relations skills and ignore the problems they cause. They focus on personal productivity, ignoring the fact that they are part of a complicated “team” structure. Once human relationships become the focus of the group, the team operates more efficiently.
We must first acknowledge that all relationships have a stress factor. We have to maintain open communications in order to have healthy relationships. The quality of any relationship will influence the productivity of people involved. Think back to the most effective and enjoyable experience that you ever had. Most likely, it is the one where you felt a sense of commitment and trust. The dictionary lists trust as a verb—something you do, rather than something you think about. When you trust someone, you integrate their actions and ideas with yours. A conflict between individuals, especially those in leadership positions, affects the decision-making process and sometimes destroys the morale of an entire unit or organization. Research shows human conflicts are also a primary cause of employee turnover.
The most objective way to view human interaction is to concentrate on the relationship itself and try to forget the personalities on either end. When you focus on the relationship and not worry about the personalities, you can be more objective. A good strategy is to discuss potential misinterpretations immediately to clear the air.
In the work environment, as in your personal life, nothing contributes more to building and maintaining healthy relationships than a positive attitude. Trust is the foundation for success. You cannot expect people to trust you if you do not trust anyone yourself. A workplace without trust is inefficient, expensive, and much less productive. Success is achieved when we learn to turn negatives into positives.
One of the best ways to create understanding, appreciation, and open dialogue with those different from us is to try to find common ground. I recommend you work at valuing relationships, do not make personalities the center of attention, and always seek to restore damage to any relationship as quickly as possible. Make it your mission to recover lost trust by turning problems into opportunities.
Patricia Bagby, CEO of PBBD Enterprises, is a highly regarded consultant, trainer, key note speaker, and professional development coach. Host of local cable television shows in Arizona and California, and a freelance writer, Ms Bagby has over thirty years experience helping people and their businesses achieve a healthy balance. We are your strategic business partner for Human Capital Management and winning at workplace relationships. A southern California based consulting firm, our services include Coaching for Power and Influence, Professional Development, Fair Employment Practices, and Whole Brain Thinking Technology. All dedicated to creating human relations skills for the business of work.