At work, everyone has functional relationships with others. - FILE PIC

This week, I spent two days training senior managers in Media Prima Berhad, the parent company of this publication. It was especially nice for me, as a few leaders from the New Straits Times attended my programme.

It was really good to connect with the people I have a functional relationship with.

At work, everyone has functional relationships with others. This means you will have a connection with someone at your workplace that requires both of you to fulfil agreed and fixed obligations to each other. Only when you do this, are you able to deliver on your KPIs.

Sometimes these exchanges are just transactional. This is when you simply cooperate as a means to an end. If you are collaborative in these transactional interfaces, you will both walk away feeling good.

There also connections at work, which are relational. Relational interactions happen when you have meaningful engagements that build, and maintain that relationship.

If you have relational connections with your colleagues, you will not only care about the outcomes, but you also care about your colleague. Naturally, this requires you to pay attention to the process and quality of how you are both communicating, and not just interacting as a means to an end.

Meeting the people who run this newspaper in the training programme that I was running, helped me move my interactions from being transactional to becoming relational.

I personally found this very empowering.

Most of you spend more of your waking hours with your co-workers than you do with your spouses or families. Therefore, it is vital that you build solid relationships with your work-mates.

One of the biggest threats to achieving results at work is when your work environment is filled with toxic people. Colleagues who are toxic thrive with a negative attitude, and will create a damaging work atmosphere. They judge people and situations to suit their needs, and in every narrative, they will paint themselves as the victim.

Building strong relationships will help you withstand the onslaught of the occasional toxicity that occurs in nearly all companies.

One of the highest value tasks for all leaders is to develop a supportive setting that helps their team members build collaborative relationships.

When co-workers forge relationships that are purposeful, they are much more likely to work well together. This is often apparent when a new person joins a team. Typically, that new member will remain relatively isolated until everyone gets to know them.

If you have people who are barely on speaking terms, and you put them together into a project, it will take some time for them to recalibrate, and begin to work in partnership.

On the other hand, team members who already know, like and respect each other are always more willing to collaborate for the betterment of any project.

As you spend so much time at work with each other, the development of good relationships will only serve to increase your work morale. If you look forward to spending time with your colleagues, you will produce a different set of results to when you dread working with a team mate.

Your relationships with others will determine if you have fun at work, which is a prerequisite for high morale. This is just not possible in a stiff and unfriendly workplace.

When you feel connected to your company, it is only because of a few reasons. The first is perhaps that you share the same vision as your leaders. Alternatively, it is because you feel a family-like connection with your co-workers. This connectivity means that you won’t be leaving the company in a rush.

Connected relationships offer higher retention rates, which is necessary for sustainable growth.

From a profitability stand-point, logic dictates that happy employees are more productive.

In my own businesses, I have realised that a well-adjusted workforce is a productive one. By feeling more connected to their place of employment, my team naturally wants to try harder to keep my company going, and to help it grow.

And, I have

understood that much of my success with the various team leads in my companies has been predicated on me developing connected relationships with them.

I know that having a collaborative relationship with me, helps my team meet their targets. Most importantly, it helps them with feeling connected to their jobs.

For those of you in leadership roles, ensuring that you focus on building connected relationships with your teams, and helping them do the same with each other, must be high on your to-do-list.

You can do this by fostering a positive workplace.

First, create a strong mission statement and a buoyant team-based environment. Next, strengthen workplace relationships by setting clear expectations, and practicing constant communication. Finally, offer well-timed responses to both positive workplace behavior, and deal fairly with employee concerns.

Building connected relationships will provide all the necessary resources to ensure that you get your job done, and become more effective.

You will enjoy greater satisfaction at work, and so will those around you. Result!

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