Business guru David Maister has a great posting on friendship skills at work. I know I really needed to hear what he had to say this week. What a great workforce we could be together if we all practiced what he preaches. Here's a brief teaser to motivate you to check out the entire posting.
It’s worth pausing and asking yourself right now: do people think I am considerate, supportive, understanding and thoughtful? Do my friends and acquaintances? Do those I work with? Do those I manage? Do those I serve? If the answer to any of these questions is “no,” then it’s worth asking yourself, “Why not? What’s the problem?”
The answer is likely to be some variant of the fat smoker syndrome. You know what’s good for you, but it takes attention to a lot of detail today to get the reputation that’s going to benefit you in the future.
A reputation for being supportive, for instance, must be earned through social habits. And to be seen as considerate, you have to be able to remember information that people share about their lives, proving that you listened and paid attention. ...To be viewed by other people as supportive also takes thought and careful attention to language. ...Having the ability to respond with the right phrase in real time takes practice, as do all social skills.
As individuals, or as organizations, it is possible to set out to develop friendship skills. However, like all aspects of the fat smoker syndrome, it requires a concerted effort to invest today in building skills (and relationships) that will pay off tomorrow. Unless they are already naturals, relatively few individuals - and even fewer organizations - have the self-discipline to stick with the program. That’s why it’s a successful strategy for those who do.
What can you do to make your workplace a more friendly place starting today?