Networking- how to maintain healthy work relationships
There you are, a newbie at this new job. Maybe it is your first job, maybe it is your 3rd, or fifth. Maybe you are coming in at entry level or you are coming in as the new CEO, the top of the proverbial corporate ladder. It doesn’t matter how you come in, you are at this new place now, and you are going to find new people, company cultures and most likely a fresh way of doing things.
The thing most people seem to overlook about the workplace is how important it is to your entire life. It’s easy to think of it as that place you go to make the money that will help you survive in this world, but you have to consider the amount of time spent there. If you have the traditional 9-5 job, you are spending 8 hours out of the 18 or so hours you stay awake there. That is almost 45% of your day in this place, 5-7 days a week. Research done by Real Sociology indicates that the average person will spend around 90,000 hours at work over their lifetime.
If one is spending this much time in this place, it is imperative that they figure out how to be happy while there. And a big part of achieving this happiness is ensuring that you are on good terms with the people you are spending all this time with. This is what we are here to advise you about today. The different ways you can network with your colleagues to ensure you enjoy all those hours you stay with them. Without further ado, we present the top ways to network in order to maintain good work relationships
1. Be the best employee you can be.
Turn up on time, pull your weight and deliver to the best of your abilities. I know this sounds obvious and not related to networking at all, but being a good employee will make networking much easier and make people more receptive to you. You don’t want to be that guy on the team that frustrates everyone because of how you are always late to deliver on tasks assigned. If you get this one step right, you have done 50% of the work.
2. Greet people.
This one is simple. When you arrive in the morning, just greet everyone you meet on your way to your corner of the office. It doesn’t have to be the lengthy African greetings where you ask after everyone in the family tree and throw in some of the livestock as well. Just a simple good morning will do. And goodbye when you are leaving. And when a colleague comes over to chat with you listen to whatever they are saying, unless you are in a bit of a hurry or doing something very important. In this case, tell them as politely as you can that you are a quite engaged at the moment, but be sure to follow up later and try and find out what they were trying to tell you. Try and actually find out things about the people you are spending all this time with. Find out how many kids or siblings they have. Find out their interests away from work. You don’t have to read their diaries, but just make sure you know more than the fact that they are really good with accounts and numbers.
3. Make your boundaries known.
It doesn’t help anyone if you are miserable because people are always crossing your boundaries yet they have no idea that you have boundaries to begin with. We all have our little things, those small oddities that most people won’t understand, but it will make life simpler for everyone if you let people know that you are not comfortable with certain things. If your little quirks end up making others uncomfortable or ruining the workplace dynamic for other people, you might want to consider compromising. Say, if you like having only your food in the fridge, you should consider buying your own cooler or finding a job that allows you to work from home.
4. Don’t sleep with the people you work with, unless were already married to them by the time you started working together.
To be frank, sex is the epitome of networking. Let me explain, having sex with someone means that the networking between the two of you has been so effective that it crossed the conversational stage and the chemistry was strong you have now moved to the stage where you decide to bond physically. In theory, this doesn’t sound like a bad thing at all but in the workplace, this can lead to misery. More so if you have an actual steady relationship outside the workplace and the person you are sleeping with at work is a side arrangement. This is disaster personified. Sex tends to complicate things and the last place you want complications is the workplace. Understandably, some people have managed to successfully maintain (un)healthy work mixed with personal relationships, but they are the minority and unless your heart is threatening to jump out of your chest because of the amount of feelings you have for this person, don’t do it.
5. Don’t sexually harass anyone.
The company secretary might have a cleavage that looks like it can hide an entire army, but that doesn’t give you the right to speak to her chest all the time, or make crass jokes about it, or fondle her when it is just the two of you in the lift together. You do not want to have the reputation of the company perv, and if you can’t avoid having that reputation, then just respect people’s boundaries.
6. Be respectful to everyone.
You might be a genius that has figured out how the company can triple its profits, but this doesn’t give you the right to be dick to your colleagues who don’t have brains as big as yours. I recently watched the latest Steve Jobs movie and there is a scene when Jobs (played by Michael Fassbender ) and his apple co-founder Wozniak (played by Seth Rogen) are having this heated exchange and Wozniak closes the argument with this line, ‘It’s not binary. You can be decent and gifted at the same time.’ Take Wozniaks words to heart dear reader. He is a billionaire so he probably knows what he is talking about.
Actually, that last point alone should be enough for you to survive on because it pretty much absorbs all the other tips we have given above. In fact, we are going to end here. Go and research as much as possible about what it means to be respectful to fellow humans and you are good to go.