It’s Monday morning and you’ve only been at the office for acouple of hours. The phone has not stopped ringing, you’ve barelymade a dent in your emails, there is a project deadline looming,a team meeting to lead and your boss is concerned and hasslingyou about the project outcome. Does any of this sound familiar toyou? Does it feel overwhelming?

The truth is that order to be successful, productive and lessstressed, you need positive, supportive relationships at work.Here are the 7 keys to developing them.

1. Foster a willingness to listen. Good listening skills arenecessary in order to succeed in establishing good relationshipswith managers, colleagues, and employees. While talking less andlistening more can be a challenge at times, it’s important tosuspend your own needs and reactions in order "hear" what anotherperson is saying.

2. Promote a willingness to work collaboratively. Collaborationor "working together" is an extremely important team concept.This means noticing and responding to the comments and requestsof others. Each member of the team has value and a role to playso if one or two team members attempt to be "in charge" and viewthemselves as more valuable, the effectiveness of the whole teammay be greatly reduced.

3. Endeavor to be respectful. The old adage "you catch more flieswith honey than vinegar" holds true. Showing respect to others,even if they are unpleasant and rude, exhibits a strong sense ofself.

4. Respond in a timely fashion. Evaluate how timely you are inresponding to others. Remember, your response may affectdecisions or someone else’s ability to complete projects. Whenyou let someone know you have received their message but don’thave the data they require, at least they know you aren’tignoring them. Often much time, energy and frustration isexpended because people don’t acknowledge a message or request.

5. Find a mentor. A mentor understands the company culture, howdecisions are made and office protocol. Your mentor is willing toanswer your questions, share their wisdom and challenge you.Developing a relationship with a mentor can help you transitioninto a company, a new department or a different job. Having amentor can help you manage and thrive in a competitiveenvironment.

6. Eliminate the negativity. Examine your behavior to be surethat you’re not a chronic complainer who never has anythingpositive to say, the boss who yells at employees under the guiseof motivating them, or the person who always blames others fortheir problems. You’ll also want to limit contact with thesetoxic influences as much as possible.

7. Surround yourself with supportive people. People who value,encourage and support you are invaluable both in the workplaceand in your personal life. They help you problem solve and dealwith the challenges you encounter. They encourage you even whileasking tough questions. They don’t always agree with you butrather are with you through "thick and thin". Identify thesupportive people in your life and let them know how much youappreciate them.

Evaluate your work environment and ask yourself:What kind ofrelationships do I want and need?

Copyright © 2005 by Gail Solish. All rights reserved.

Author's Bio: 

Gail Solish, MSW, RSW provides executive coaching to womenmanagers, directors and executives focused on workplacedevelopment and relationship management. Claim your FR-EE e-course "Unleash Your Potential and Increase Productivity andFulfillment" at or contact Gail at 416-322-0029.